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Important Ages for Social Security

That Certain Age

That Certain Age (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are many specific important ages to know as you’re planning your Social Security filing strategy. The ages can become quite confusing and jumbled together as you plan.  It’s important to know at what age you can take specific actions, as well as what the consequences can be if you take a particular action earlier than it is appropriate.

These ages are pervasive throughout this blog and my book, but I hadn’t compiled all of the important ages into a single place, so listed below are what I have determined to be the most important ages with regard to Social Security, as well as what is important about that age.  Enjoy!

Age Description
22-62 This is the forty years during which your monthly earnings are compiled to develop your initial Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME).  This figure is then used to determine your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) which is used to calculate your retirement benefit, your spouse’s and dependents’ benefits, survivor benefits for your beneficiaries, and the family maximum benefit amount.
50 The first age at which you can file for survivor’s benefits (also known as widow(er)’s benefits).  In order to file for survivor’s benefits at this age, you must be permanently disabled.  Benefits at this age will be reduced – to the same amount as if the survivor was age 60 and not disabled.
60 The first age at which you can file for survivor’s benefits if you are not disabled. (see 50 above if disabled) Survivor benefits at this age will be reduced to the minimum amount.
62 The earliest age at which you can begin receiving your own retirement benefit and spousal benefit if you are eligible.  Both benefits would be reduced if taken at this age.
62-FRA Between these ages (starting at age 62 and before reaching FRA), if you file for your own benefit and you are eligible for the spousal benefit (meaning your spouse has filed), you are deemed to have filed for both benefits.  Likewise, during this period if you file for the spousal benefit you are deemed to have filed for both benefits.Within the 3 years immediately before FRA, your benefit is reduced by 5/9% each month, or 6.667% per year. If you file more than 3 years before FRA, reduction is 5/12% per month for each month greater than 3 years before FRA, or 5% per year.
66 Full Retirement Age (FRA) for folks who were born during the years 1943 to 1954.  This is the first age when you can file for the full, unreduced retirement benefit.  You can also file a restricted application for spousal benefits only at this age – if your spouse has filed for his or her own benefit.At FRA, spousal benefits are maximized – there is no increase by delaying receipt of spousal benefits after this age.

This is also the FRA for survivor’s benefits if born between the years of 1945 and 1956.  This means you’d have no reduction to survivor benefits if you delay filing for them until this age.

66 & 2 months FRA for retirement benefits if born in 1955 (see 66 for description).  FRA for survivor benefits if born in 1957.
66 & 4 months FRA for retirement benefits if born in 1956, and FRA for survivor benefits if born in 1958.
66 & 6 months FRA for retirement benefits if born in 1957; FRA for survivor benefits if born in 1959.
66 & 8 months FRA for retirement benefits if born in 1958; FRA for survivor benefits if born in 1960.
66 & 10 months FRA for retirement benefits if born in 1959; FRA for survivor benefits if born in 1961.
67 FRA for retirement benefits if born in 1960 or later; FRA for survivor benefits if born in 1962 or later.
FRA-70 Between these ages, if you have not filed for your own benefit (or have suspended), your retirement benefit will increase by 2/3% per month, or 8% per year (12 months).
70 At this age, your delayed benefit is at its maximum level.  There are no increases by delaying receipt of benefits past this age.

If I’ve left out any important ages, let me know so that I can add them to the list.  Just leave a comment below!

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4 Comments

  1. When I turn age 66, my wife who is still working will be 62 and a half. Can she file and suspend to allow me to file a restricted application?

    1. jblankenshipNo Gravatar says:

      No, she cannot. File & suspend is only available to an individual who is at or older than full retirement age.

  2. FrankNo Gravatar says:

    QUESTION: Re waiting to age 70 to gain 32% more in SS benefit than had we started at FRA (66 for me) — Is it exactly at our 70th birthday that we achieve that 32% higher benefit? That is, if we start taking at 69 years and 6 months, our SS benefit would incrementally less than a full 32% more than had we started taking at age 66. I ask because I get this “age 70″ (for SS) confused with having to start withdrawing 401k from age 70.5.

    1. jblankenshipNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Frank. Maybe this will help: it’s 2/3% per month past FRA, to the maximum age of 70. So, in the case of starting benefits at age 69 years and 6 months, if your FRA is 66, your benefit would be increased by 28% over the amount you would have received at age 66.

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