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Early or Late Retirement?

When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits

Benefit calculators

How we calculate benefits

Workers planning for their retirement should be aware that retirement benefits depend on age at retirement. If a worker begins receiving benefits before his/her normal (or full) retirement age, the worker will receive a reduced benefit. A worker can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as 30 percent.

Starting to receive benefits after normal retirement age may result in larger benefits. With delayed retirement credits, a person can receive his or her largest benefit by retiring at age 70.

Early retirement reduces benefits

In the case of early retirement, a benefit is reduced 5/9 of one percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month.

For example, if the number of reduction months is 60 (the maximum number for retirement at 62 when normal retirement age is 67), then the benefit is reduced by 30 percent. This maximum reduction is calculated as 36 months times 5/9 of 1 percent plus 24 months times 5/12 of 1 percent.

Delayed retirement increases benefits

Delayed retirement credit is generally given for retirement after the normal retirement age. To receive full credit, you must be insured at your normal retirement age. No credit is given after age 69.

If you retire before age 70, some of your delayed retirement credits will not be applied until the January after you start benefits. The calculator below gives you the amount with all credits applied for comparison purposes.

Delayed retirement credits increase a retiree's benefits. The table below shows the delayed retirement credit by year of birth.

Compute the effect of early or delayed retirement

If you enter your date of birth and the effective month for beginning your benefits, we will tell you the effect of early or delayed retirement as a percentage of your primary insurance amount. Please note that benefits are generally paid in the month following the effective month.

Enter your date of birth (// format):
/ /

Enter the effective month and year for which you would like to begin receiving benefits:
/   You must be at least age 62 to begin receiving benefits.

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Effect of your retirement choice on your benefit:

Annual delayed retirement credit percentage varies from 3% to 8% by year of birth

Delayed retirement credit
Year of birth Credit per year
1941-42 7.5%
1943 and later 8.0%
Note: Persons born on January 1 of any year should refer to the credit percentage for the previous year.
More information A table illustrates the complex interaction among normal retirement age, actuarial reduction, and delayed retirement credit. Portal to U.S. government agencies Privacy Policy  | Website Policies & Other Important Information  | Site Map
Last reviewed or modified Tuesday Nov 25, 2008
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