You can start your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit amount you receive will be less than your full retirement benefit amount.

If you start your benefits early, they will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. If your:

  • full retirement age is 66, the reduction of your benefits at age 62 is 25 percent; at age 63, it is about 20 percent; at age 64, it is about 13.3 percent; and at age 65, it is about 6.7 percent.
  • full retirement age is older than 66 (that is, you were born after 1954), you can still start your retirement benefits at 62 but the reduction in your benefit amount will be greater, up to a maximum of 30 percent at age 62 for people born in 1960 and later.

If you work after you start receiving benefits, we may withhold some of your benefits if you have excess earnings. However,

  • we have a special rule that applies to earnings for one year. The special rule means we cannot withhold benefits for any whole month we consider you retired, regardless of your yearly earnings.

  • after you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for any months in which you did not receive some benefit because of your earnings.

Caution: If you apply for benefits more than 6 months after you reach full retirement age, we can only pay the benefits for the previous 6 months.

Do you plan to keep working beyond full retirement age?
YES Delayed retirement credits may increase your benefits.
NO Go to the next step.
NOT SURE You may be able to continue working while you get benefits.