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FRA for Retirement Benefits vs FRA for Survivor Benefits

As mentioned in many articles on this site, there is a difference between the Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Social Security Retirement Benefits and the FRA for Social Security Survivor Benefits.

This is due to the way that the language of the reductions rules is written. The rules are written based upon the earliest age that you are eligible for each type of benefit. Since Survivor benefits are available as early as age 60 under common circumstances, and Retirement Benefits are available at age 62 at the earliest, there is a two-year offset between the two FRA tables, as illustrated below:

Full Retirement Age – Retirement Benefits
Born in: Full Retirement Age (FRA) is:
1943-1954 66
1955 66y, 2m
1956 66y, 4m
1957 66y, 6m
1958 66y, 8m
1959 66y, 10m
1960 or later 67

Note that each “Born in” year is two years later than the complementary year in the Retirement benefit table.

Full Retirement Age – Survivor Benefits
Born in: Full Retirement Age (FRA) is:
1945-1956 66
1957 66y, 2m
1958 66y, 4m
1959 66y, 6m
1960 66y, 8m
1961 66y, 10m
1962 or later 67


  1. Daniel says:

    Does Social Security reduce the spousal survivor benefits if the surviving spouse is still working prior to FRA? If they do, which FRA is used for the surviving spouse?

    1. jblankenship says:

      Yes, the earnings test does apply to survivor benefits, and the survivor benefit FRA is the appropriate date to use in applying this.

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