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.


  1. Mildred says:

    Hi Jim,
    For confirmation and clarity on my part I am waiting to turn 70 y/o on July 27, 2023 to receive benefits. For filing purposes, I can apply as early as March 27, 2023, 4 months before, and social security will acknowledge that I am 70 years old on July 1, 2023? (taken from above – The maximum benefit age of 70 (for Social Security’s purposes is the month that you actually have your 70th birthday). Or should I submit my application sometime in April (give me a date) rather than late March? Or do you suggest another date? Thank you!

    1. jblankenship says:

      If I recall correctly, I believe 3 months in advance is the earliest you should file. Any time in April should be sufficient, and indicate that you want benefits to begin as of your age 70, in July.

  2. Yolanda says:

    I filed for social security in November 2021 (turned 62 October 28th 2021). Got my acceptance letter December 1st 2021 but delayed the first payment until January 2022 because I was still working and did not want my ss to be taxed. Yet I received my first payment yesterday on 2/23/22 and it was only one payment. Should I have received only one payment or should I have received two payments (both January and February combined) then thereafter one payment on the last Wednesday of each month.

    1. jblankenship says:

      Normally your benefit for January would arrive in February, so what you’ve described doesn’t seem out of line. The timing of the actual check arriving may differ, but I’d expect that you’ll get the February check in March, and so on.

  3. Brian Linkevich says:

    If my birthday is May 22 1956, when is my actually retirement date for full SS benifits?

    1. jblankenship says:

      With a birth year of 1956, Full Retirement Age is the month when you reach the age of 66 years and 4 months. That would be September, 2022 for you.

  4. Michael says:

    On April 30, I will be 70. When should I apply for my Social Security?

    1. jblankenship says:

      Two months in advance is the recommendation – so anytime beginning in February would be appropriate.

      1. Michael Wright says:

        Thank you very much JB.

  5. Kathy Salsbury says:

    I turn 66 on 12/31/2021. What date would be considered my FRA if I have to go to 66 and 2. I was going to speak with the SSA in November about it. Im just curious what month my first check would come, if I wait until 66 and 2? Thank you for your help

    1. jblankenship says:

      You’ll reach the age of 66 years and 2 months (your FRA) as of February 1, 2022, from Social Security’s perspective. If you apply for benefits to begin as of your FRA, your first check should come to you at the beginning of March (assuming you filed early enough for that check to arrive on time).

  6. Richard says:

    My birthday is 2-12-1955, I turn 66 on February 12/2021. My full retirement date is 66 and 2 months. Is February and March my (2) months or March & April. Do I start collecting full benefits in April or May
    Thank You

    1. jblankenship says:

      Yes, it is my understanding that you’ll reach 66y & 2m as of 4/12/2021, so you would be considered at Full Retirement Age as of April.

      Please confirm this with Social Security before making the move – just to make sure!

  7. Richard says:

    Hello Jim!
    My name is Richard. My birthdate is 01/18/1958. My FRA would be 09/18/24. Because of health concerns I plan on retiring this year–Sept 2021. This will provide 80% of my full benefits. Must I work until 09/18/21 to receive 80% of my benefits, or is 09/01 sufficient? Thanks for your help!!

    1. jblankenship says:

      How long you work is not as important as when you begin benefits. If you begin benefits in October you should receive 80% of the PIA. I would confirm this with SSA before you start the benefit, as you might be eligible for the 80% benefit for a September commencement. Delaying to October for benefits would definitely get you to the 80% mark, and possibly 80.56% (if September is the true 80% month for you).

  8. Barbara says:

    I have another question when I reach my FRA which is Jul 2021 if I was born on 28 May 1955. When should I apply for my FRA benefits before May or after the full month of July?

    1. jblankenship says:

      Apply for benefits up to 3 months in advance of when you want the benefit to begin. This is the recommendation from Social Security.

  9. says:

    My birthday is May 28 2955. My full retirement age is 66 and 2 month which is July.
    Do I wait until the full month of July to get my full retirement benefits?

    1. jblankenship says:

      If you start receiving benefits any time before your month of Full Retirement Age, the benefit will be reduced. So you should wait until your month of Full Retirement Age to begin benefits if you don’t want a reduction.

  10. CA McNeil says:

    On February 1, 2021 I will turn 70. Given that my birthday is on the 1st of the month does that mean I should apply now and when the online SSA asks “when would you like to receive benefits?” I should use January 1, 2021? This first of the month date twist is confusing me and I’d like to know before I start the online application. Don’t want to request too early or too late especially since I waited until age 70. Thank you!

    1. jblankenship says:

      My understanding is that you would request benefits to begin in January, 2021. But if it was me, I’d take the time to call in and make certain that you’re doing this correctly, filing at exactly age 70 according to the SSA’s position.

  11. Charlie says:

    I turn 70 12/02/2020. I began my “APPLY FOR BENEFITS ONLINE” 09/01/2020.
    I am asked “when would you like to receive benefits?” 11/20, 12/20 or 01/20.
    Simple, I would like to receive my SS payments calculated for my age 70 amount as soon as possible. Why the choices? Will I be considered age 70 on 12/20/2020?
    Why so complicated?

    1. jblankenship says:

      The question “Why so complicated?” is a good one for SSA. Seems like if you told them you wanted to start at your age 70 they would default to the proper date.

      At any rate, you should be considered 70 for the month of December, so that should be your date to choose.

  12. Nate says:

    Hi. Jim. Your replies are extremely informative. I have similar concerns to the question that was posed to you below on

    January 5, 2020

    “I will be 66 on 11 27 2020 does my fra year start on 1 1 2020 so that i will be subject to the different earning test and is there a monthly earning limit?”

    Your Reply was:

    January 6th, 2020

    “Yes, if you’re receiving SS benefits prior to your FRA, during the year (up to November) you can earn up to $4,050 per month ($48,600 for the year) without earnings limit withholding.”

    My concern is I turn 66 on June 19, 2020. I began working part-time under Social Security’s rules for working while disabled in February 2020. I called Social Security and they told me that SSDI recipients monthly income limit is $1,260 for this year.

    After reading your reply it sure sounds like I could have gone over the $1,260 limit starting in January 2020 even though my birthday isn’t until June. Am I wrong? If that’s the case I’m really upset because I could have earned much more. Also, since my birthday is on June 19, 2020 I was under the impression that I would not receive my first fra benefit until July 3rd 2020 (the date I receive my SSDI each month). Am I wrong?

    1. jblankenship says:

      First of all, SSDI is not the same thing as Social Security retirement benefits, and different rules apply to each. SSDI is Disability Income. If you’ve been receiving SSDI then the $1,260 per month limit applies to you until you reach FRA and switch over to retirement benefits.

      If you had been receiving Social Security retirement benefits (having filed before your FRA) then the $4,050 per month income limitation would apply to you up to your reaching FRA in June. After that there is no income limitation.

      The first Social Security retirement benefit that you can receive (at your FRA amount) will occur in July, as you suggest. In June your SSDI benefit will change over to a retirement benefit and will generate the first payment in the following month.

      1. Nathaniel says:

        Thank you for your timely reply Jim. I know now that I need to stay under the $1260 income limit for at least one more month. I really appreciate you clearing that up for me. Take care.

  13. Karen J Kaas says:

    I am turning 66 on 3/6/2022. My full retirement age is 66 and 4 months. What date am I considered full retirement age and be able to retire with full benefits?

    1. jblankenship says:

      Your FRA date is the month of July 2022, when you will reach 66 years and 4 months.

  14. ricky cedars says:

    i will be 66 on 11 27 2020 does my fra year start on 1 1 2020 so that i will be subject to the different earning test and is there a monthly earning limit

    1. jblankenship says:

      Yes, if you’re receiving SS benefits prior to your FRA, during the year (up to November) you can earn up to $4,050 per month ($48,600 for the year) without earnings limit withholding.

  15. D Curran says:

    In 120 days from today, I will be 62. I tried to file online for early retirement but I can’t get past the question that says: have you been unable to work in the last 14 months? If I say no then it says I can’t complete the application. Am I just filing too soon? I have back problems but no medical records so I just want early retirement but I can’t complete the online application unless I say yes to being unable to work for the past 14 months. Thanks for your help! My employer kindly lets me bring my heating pad to work but some days even that does not help. I just need to be able to finish this application so I will have hope of soon relief!!!

    1. jblankenship says:

      You are not allowed to file an application more than 3 months in advance. If you wait until 3 months before your 62nd birthday you should be able to complete the application with no problem.

  16. Melanie says:

    I’m confused. My birthday is 12/4/54. I will be 66 on that date. Can I retire on 12/31/2020 with full benefits or do I have to wait until 1/4/2021?

    1. jblankenship says:

      There should be no reason that you would not receive your full benefit by retiring in December. You will have reached Full Retirement Age by that date, so you can retire at that time with no consequence.

  17. Beverly says:

    I turned 70 on August 5th of 2019. Will I be able to file for the do over since I have reached full retirement age?

    1. jblankenship says:

      When did you file for your benefit? You’re limited to 12 months after the original filing – the old rule allowing reset after many years was eliminated.

  18. Christine Burd says:

    So if I turn 70 (full benefit age) on Nov. 2 2019, I will not be counted as 70 until the next month and should not start my benefits on application til Dec 2?

    1. jblankenship says:

      No, age 70 is the exception. You’re considered 70 years old as of the first day of the month of your 70th birthday.

  19. Cindy Clardy 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 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. jblankenship 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 –


  20. Anne 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

Get involved!