Social Security Retirement Age: Legal Definition

The legal definition of Social Security retirement age refers to when you may start collecting Social Security retirement benefits. Many people think this age is 65, as that was the standard retirement age for decades.

But the actual Social Security retirement age is more complicated. For one thing, the age one officially becomes eligible for Social Security is not always the age at which they choose to declare. They are also major benefits to delaying and not receiving your benefits as soon as you are eligible.

It is also worth noting that the Social Security retirement age is not static. It changes over time — always inching upward — as life expectancies lengthen and birth rates decline. The age at which your grandparents were able to collect full Social Security benefits is not the same age at which you will be able to.

How the Social Security Retirement Age Has Changed Over Time

For many years, the standard retirement age for Social Security was 65. That age came to be inextricably linked with retirement. As of 2018, though, if you start collecting Social Security at 65, you will have to forfeit some of your benefits, as you will not have reached what is now the standard retirement age.

Why is 65 no longer the benchmark? Because the Social Security Administration (SSA) has slowly raised it over the years. As Baby Boomers age and future generations have fewer children, we have too many retirees collecting Social Security and not enough working-age people funding the program.

The Standard Social Security Retirement Age as of 2018

The year you turn 62 determines your standard Social Security retirement age. If you turned or will turn 62 in 2018, you can claim your full Social Security retirement benefit when you are 66 years and four months old.

People who turned 62 in previous years were able to collect their full benefit sooner. And people who will turn 62 in years to come will have to wait longer. As of 2018, the SSA does not have definite plans to continue raising the standard retirement age once it hits 67.

The SSA has a calculator on its site to allow you to determine your retirement age.

What Happens if You Claim Benefits Before or After Your Standard Retirement Age

If you claim Social Security before your standard retirement age, which you can do as young as age 62, you will receive a lower monthly benefit for the rest of your life. If you wait until after your standard retirement age, which you can do up until age 70, you will receive a higher monthly benefit.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Today With a Social Security Attorney — Call the Disability Advantage Group at 865-566-0800

The Social Security attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group want to help you get the most out of your Social Security benefits. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation. To speak with a member of our staff today, call us at 865-566-0800.