Keep in mind that every Social Security rule carries exceptions and rules are subject to change. It’s best to always reference the Social Security website, SSA.gov. You can also log in to your Social Security account online for specifics regarding your benefits.
For Many People, the Magic Number Is 67
What’s so special about age 67? For many people, this represents Full Retirement Age, or the age you can begin receiving your full retirement benefit. You can retire early and collect a percentage of your benefits. Once you reach FRA, your benefits will increase to the full amount, according to SSA.gov. That amount is called your PIA, or Primary Insurance Amount.
If you were born between 1943 to 1954, your FRA is age 66. It increases gradually based on the year you were born, as indicated in the chart below. If you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67.
Year of Birth
Full Retirement Age
1943 – 1954
66 and 2 mos.
66 and 4 mos.
66 and 6 mos.
66 and 8 mos.
66 and 10 mos.
1960 or later
For Survivor Benefits, FRA starts at age 66 for those born between 1945 and 1956 and increases in 2-month increments. Those born in 1962 or later reach full retirement age at 67.
How Does 124% of Your Benefits Sound?
You might wonder how much your benefits will be reduced by if you file before you reach full retirement age. The answer is: It depends. The percentages are different for individual retirement benefits, spousal benefits, and survivor benefits.
If your full retirement age is 67, the chart below shows the percentage of benefits you’ll receive between ages 60 and 70.
However, there’s good news, too. If you wait until you are 70 to file for Social Security, you’ll receive 124% of your full benefit amount, which is a pretty large raise!
% of Individual Benefit
% of Spousal Benefit
% of Survivor Benefit
This Happens 36 Months Before Full Retirement Age
Each month before you reach full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced. In the 36 months before full retirement age, you’ll lose 5/9 of 1% of your benefits each month. Any time prior to the 36 months before full retirement age, you’ll lose 5/12 of 1%.
Once you reach full retirement age, your benefits will increase monthly by 2/3 of 1%, up to age 70.
$21,420 Is a Number to Keep In Mind After Age 62, But Before Your Full Retirement Age
Until you reach full retirement age, the Social Security Administration may also reduce your benefits further if your earnings exceed a certain amount. The SSA counts wages and net earnings from self-employment toward your earnings limit but doesn’t count pensions, dividends, annuities, IRA distributions, capital gains, or income earned from interest.
From age 62 up to the year you reach full retirement age, your earnings limit is $21,240. For every $2 over the limit, your benefit will be reduced by $1. The year you reach full retirement age, you’ll have an earnings limit of $56,520, and for every $3 over the limit, your benefits will be reduced by $1.
Once you reach full retirement age, the earnings limit is removed and you can collect your full benefits regardless of other income you earn.
2023 Social Security Formula
If you first became eligible for Social Security benefits in 2023 because you reached age 62 or became disabled, you can calculate your benefits at full retirement age using the following formula:
90% of the first $1,115 of your average indexed monthly earnings + 32% of your average indexed monthly earnings over $1,115 up to $6,721 + 15% of your average indexed monthly earnings over $6,721.
You can also reference your MyBenefits account by logging in at SSA.gov to see your benefits.
Can You Live on $1,827 Per Month?
The average Social Security benefit across the U.S. is $1,827. In cases of married couples, where both couples receive benefits, the average amount for the household is $2,972. It’s no wonder many people are concerned about their retirement years or even planning not to retire at all.
The average Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is $1,483. Individuals collecting SSDI can earn as much as $1,470 per month (and $2,460 per month if they are blind) and maintain their benefits. Individuals are also allowed to earn up to $1,050 per month during a trial work period and maintain their benefits.
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