Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row Rotating Header Image

When is Your Social Security Birthday?

birthday cake
Image by freakgirl via Flickr

As you’re nearing the point when you intend to receive your Social Security benefits, it may occur to you to question just when do these milestones take effect?  Just when are you considered first eligible for benefits, when are you at Full Retirement Age, and when have you reached the maximum age? When is your Social Security birthday? (it may not be when you think)

For Social Security age purposes, the month of your birthdate is important – but that’s not the date at which you reach the milestone.  Sometimes it’s actually the month after your birthday, the month when you are that particular age for the entire month.

For example, if your birthdate is January 15, 1954, you will actually reach age 62 on January 15, 2016 – but you’ll be eligible for benefits beginning with February of 2016.  On the other hand, since your Full Retirement Age is 66, you will reach Full Retirement Age by Social Security’s records as of January, 2020.

The Twists

The maximum benefit age of 70 (for Social Security’s purposes) is the month that you actually have your 70th birthday. For our example, this would be January, 2024.

The other time that things are different is when your birthdate is the first day of the month.  For Social Security purposes, when you have the first of the month as your birthdate, you are considered as having the month prior as your birth month.  See When Your Birthday Isn’t Your Birthday for more information.

To illustrate, if your birthdate is February 1, 1954, you will reach age 62 on February 1, 2016 and for Social Security benefits, you’ll be eligible for benefits on that date as well. For age 66 – you’ll reach that age on January 1, 2020 and you’re at Full Retirement Age on that date as well. You’ll reach age 70 on February 1, 2024, but for Social Security purposes you reach age 70 on January 1, 2024.

4 Comments

  1. Cindy ClardyNo Gravatar says:

    I have a related question. When does Social Security consider a couple’s wedding date? My long-time life partner and I are considering when we should marry. We had a commitment ceremony on June 4, 2005 when we were both 55. We would like to keep the same June 4 date for our legal wedding (thank you SCOTUS Obergefell v. Hodges) whichever year we get married. We are both now 65. Her birthday is mid January while mine is towards the end of May. After reading your “Exception to the Divorced Spouse Remarriage Rule” blog at http://financialducksinarow.com/10552/exception-to-the-divorced-spouse-remarriage-rule/ we are reconsidering whether we could get married earlier without either of us losing divorced ex-spousal benefits. We had originally thought we would have to wait to June 4, 2020 to get married but are now reconsidering an earlier date. However, if Social Security considers my full Social Security birthdate to be June 1, 2016 and I file for divorcee ex-spousal benefits to start then, would getting married on June 4, 2016 wipe out my ex-spousal benefits? Does marriage work similarly to birthdates in that we would need to be legally married a full month before we would be considered married for Social Security purposes? If so, we could wait until June 4, 2017 to marry since the older partner plans to work until age 67 and we would be hit with an income tax marriage penalty anyway. Do you know of couples who have actually successfully used this “exception” or is this basically theoretical? Not sure I want to be a guinea pig test case. Could Social Security rescind this provision between ages 66-70 to throw a monkeywrench in our Social Security maximization planning? Would the exception apply to both partners or be limited to only one of the two partners? Is there any minimum length of time either of the two divorced people considering remarriage must be drawing divorced ex-spousal benefits before they can continue to receive them?

    1. jblankenshipNo Gravatar says:

      To have the wedding date of June 4 if you are only filing for the benefit on June 1 you probably would want to wait a year, in my opinion. Again, you can ask SSA for a definitive answer to the question.

      Although I do not know specific individuals who have used this exception it is far more than a theory – it is written into the operations manual for Social Security staff – POMS RS 00202.045. It is always possible that a provision can be rescinded, but generally if it’s in use then the usage is grandfathered in. The exception applies to both partners.

      Hope this helps –

      jb

  2. AnneNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Jim:
    So SSA says I will “be age 65 one month after I actually am So if I will be 65 on June 4th(future); then I will really be 65 on July 4th;!@@Thanks Uncle Sam!@ AR

  3. […] When Is Your Social Security Birthday? from Jim Blankenship […]

Get involved!

%d bloggers like this: