|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 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.