How Early Retirement Affects Your Social Security Benefits

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An early retirement has significant implications for how your monthly Social Security benefit is calculated. For Social Security purposes, an early retirement occurs when you start claiming your benefit prior to your full retirement age (FRA), which the Social Security Administration (SSA) also calls the normal retirement age. For every month you retire prior to your FRA, your benefit is reduced by either 0.6%, 0.5%, or 0.4%.

Your Birth Year and Your FRA

Your FRA is determined by the year in which you were born. If you were born in 1937 or earlier, your FRA is 65. If you were born from 1943 to 1954, your FRA is 66. If you were born in 1960 or after, your FRA is 67.

If you were born from 1938 to 1942, your FRA is 65 years and some months, with 2 months added for each year after 1937. So if you were born in 1938, your FRA is 65 years and 2 months. If you were born in 1939, your FRA is 65 years and 4 months. The addition of 2 months continues until 1942; the FRA for those with that birth year is 65 years and 10 months.

Similarly, if you were born from 1955 to 1959, your FRA is 66 years and some months, with 2 months added for each year after 1954. So if you were born in 1955, your FRA is 66 years and 2 months. If you were born in 1956, your FRA is 66 years and 4 months. The addition of 2 months continues until 1959; the FRA for those with that birth year is 66 years and 10 months.

If you were born on the first day of a month, the SSA considers you to have been born in the previous month. That means if you were born on January 1, the SSA considers you to have been born in the previous year.

FRA of 65

The cohort of people whose FRA is 65 have all reached that age and are all now eligible to receive their full monthly benefit. If they retired before 65, their monthly benefit was reduced by the percentages below at each listed retirement age.

  • 62: 20%
  • 62 + 1 month: 19.4%
  • 62 + 2 months: 18.9%
  • 62 + 3 months: 18.3%
  • 62 + 4 months: 17.8%
  • 62 + 5 months: 17.2%
  • 62 + 6 months: 16.7%
  • 62 + 7 months: 16.1%
  • 62 + 8 months: 15.6%
  • 62 + 9 months: 15%
  • 62 + 10 months: 14.4%
  • 62 + 11 months: 13.9%
  • 63: 13.3%
  • 63 + 1 month: 12.8%
  • 63 + 2 months: 12.2%
  • 63 + 3 months: 11.7%
  • 63 + 4 months: 11.1%
  • 63 + 5 months: 10.6%
  • 63 + 6 months: 10%
  • 63 + 7 months: 9.4%
  • 63 + 8 months: 8.9%
  • 63 + 9 months: 8.3%
  • 63 + 10 months: 7.8%
  • 63 + 11 months: 7.2%
  • 64: 6.7%
  • 64 + 1 month: 6.1%
  • 64 + 2 months: 5.6%
  • 64 + 3 months: 5%
  • 64 + 4 months: 4.4%
  • 64 + 5 months: 3.9%
  • 64 + 6 months: 3.3%
  • 64 + 7 months: 2.8%
  • 64 + 8 months: 2.2%
  • 64 + 9 months: 1.7%
  • 64 + 10 months: 1.1%
  • 64 + 11 months: 0.6%

FRA of 66

Most of the cohort of people whose FRA is 66 have reached that age. Some of those born in 1954 and those born on January 1, 1955, will soon be reaching that age. If these people retired early or plan to do so, their monthly benefit was or will be reduced by the percentages below at each listed retirement age.

  • 62: 25%
  • 62 + 1 month: 24.6%
  • 62 + 2 months: 24.2%
  • 62 + 3 months: 23.7%
  • 62 + 4 months: 23.3%
  • 62 + 5 months: 22.9%
  • 62 + 6 months: 22.5%
  • 62 + 7 months: 22.1%
  • 62 + 8 months: 21.7%
  • 62 + 9 months: 21.2%
  • 62 + 10 months: 20.8%
  • 62 + 11 months: 20.4%
  • 63: 20%
  • 63 + 1 month: 19.4%
  • 63 + 2 months: 18.9%
  • 63 + 3 months: 18.3%
  • 63 + 4 months: 17.8%
  • 63 + 5 months: 17.2%
  • 63 + 6 months: 16.7%
  • 63 + 7 months: 16.1%
  • 63 + 8 months: 15.6%
  • 63 + 9 months: 15.0%
  • 63 + 10 months: 14.4%
  • 63 + 11 months: 13.9%
  • 64: 13.3%
  • 64 + 1 month: 12.8%
  • 64 + 2 months: 12.2%
  • 64 + 3 months: 11.7%
  • 64 + 4 months: 11.1%
  • 64 + 5 months: 10.6%
  • 64 + 6 months: 10%
  • 64 + 7 months: 9.4%
  • 64 + 8 months: 8.9%
  • 64 + 9 months: 8.3%
  • 64 + 10 months: 7.8%
  • 64 + 11 months: 7.2%
  • 65: 6.7%
  • 65 + 1 month: 6.1%
  • 65 + 2 months: 5.6%
  • 65 + 3 months: 5%
  • 65 + 4 months: 4.4%
  • 65 + 5 months: 3.90%
  • 65 + 6 months: 3.3%
  • 65 + 7 months: 2.8%
  • 65 + 8 months: 2.2%
  • 65 + 9 months: 1.7%
  • 65 + 10 months: 1.1%
  • 65 + 11 months: 0.6%

FRA of 67

If someone in the cohort of people whose FRA is 67 plans to retire early, their monthly benefit will be reduced by the percentages below at each listed retirement age.

  • 62: 30%
  • 62 + 1 month: 29.6%
  • 62 + 2 months: 29.2%
  • 62 + 3 months: 28.7%
  • 62 + 4 months: 28.3%
  • 62 + 5 months: 27.9%
  • 62 + 6 months: 27.5%
  • 62 + 7 months: 27.1%
  • 62 + 8 months: 26.7%
  • 62 + 9 months: 26.2%
  • 62 + 10 months: 25.8%
  • 62 + 11 months: 25.4%
  • 63: 25%
  • 63 + 1 month: 24.6%
  • 63 + 2 months: 24.2%
  • 63 + 3 months: 23.7%
  • 63 + 4 months: 23.3%
  • 63 + 5 months: 22.9%
  • 63 + 6 months: 22.5%
  • 63 + 7 months: 22.1%
  • 63 + 8 months: 21.7%
  • 63 + 9 months: 21.2%
  • 63 + 10 months: 20.8%
  • 63 + 11 months: 20.4%
  • 64: 20%
  • 64 + 1 month: 19.4%
  • 64 + 2 months: 18.9%
  • 64 + 3 months: 18.3%
  • 64 + 4 months: 17.8%
  • 64 + 5 months: 17.2%
  • 64 + 6 months: 16.7%
  • 64 + 7 months: 16.1%
  • 64 + 8 months: 15.6%
  • 64 + 9 months: 15%
  • 64 + 10 months: 14.4%
  • 64 + 11 months: 13.9%
  • 65: 13.3%
  • 65 + 1 month: 12.8%
  • 65 + 2 months: 12.2%
  • 65 + 3 months: 11.7%
  • 65 + 4 months: 11.1%
  • 65 + 5 months: 10.6%
  • 65 + 6 months: 10%
  • 65 + 7 months: 9.4%
  • 65 + 8 months: 8.9%
  • 65 + 9 months: 8.3%
  • 65 + 10 months: 7.8%
  • 65 + 11 months: 7.2%
  • 66: 6.7%
  • 66 + 1 month: 6.1%
  • 66 + 2 months: 5.6%
  • 66 + 3 months: 5%
  • 66 + 4 months: 4.4%
  • 66 + 5 months: 3.9%
  • 66 + 6 months: 3.3%
  • 66 + 7 months: 2.8%
  • 66 + 8 months: 2.2%
  • 66 + 9 months: 1.7%
  • 66 + 10 months: 1.1%
  • 66 + 11 months: 0.6%

FRAs of 66 Years and Some Months

If you were born in 1955 and plan to retire early, you can go to the following URL to determine how much your monthly benefit will be reduced by based on your retirement age: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/1955.html. To calculate the reduction in benefit, subtract the "reduced to" percentage from 100.

For the same information for birth years from 1956 to 1959, replace 1955 in the URL with that birth year.

The cohort of people born from 1938 to 1942 have all reached their FRA and are all now eligible to receive their full monthly benefit. If you still want to access information on monthly benefit reductions for people born in one of those years, you can also replace 1955 in that URL with the birth year.

You must be 62 for the entire month to begin receiving Social Security payments in that month, so you will collect your first benefit in the month after your birthday.

Article Sources

  1. Social Security Administration. "Benefits Planner: Retirement: If You Were Born in 1960 Your Full Retirement Age Is 67." Accessed March 13, 2020.

  2. Social Security Administration. "Benefits by Year of Birth." Accessed March 13, 2020.

  3. Social Security Administration. "Benefits Planner: Retirement: If You Were Born in 1937 Your Full Retirement Age Is 65." Accessed March 13, 2020.

  4. Social Security Administration. "Benefits Planner: Retirement: If You Were Born Between 1943 and 1954 Your Full Retirement Age Is 66." Accessed March 13, 2020.

  5. Social Security Administration. "Benefits Planner: Retirement: If You Were Born in 1960 Your Full Retirement Age Is 67." Accessed March 13, 2020.