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Social Security Full Retirement Age – Explained

full retirement age has nothing to do with a lone tree in a field.The Full Retirement Age, or FRA (gotta love Social Security for their acronyms!), is a key figure for the individual who is planning to receive Social Security retirement benefits.  Back in the olden days, when Social Security was first dreamed up, Full Retirement Age was always age 65.

Then, in 1983 the Social Security Act was amended, and one of the significant changes was to increase the FRA.  Beginning with folks born in 1938, the FRA would be increased (see table below).  And for folks born in 1960 and beyond, FRA is age 67 (as of this writing!) but don’t expect this figure to remain constant.  Increasing the Full Retirement Age is one way to reduce the cost of the overall program, which is a constant concern for the government since this program amounts to more than half a trillion dollars in payout every year.

What’s interesting is that, even though the FRA has been increasing, the “early” retirement and “late” retirement ages have remained the same, at 62 and 70, respectively.  I suspect at some stage those ages may be adjusted as well, all in the name of fiscal responsibility…

Year of Birth FRA
1937 or before 65
1938 65 and 2 months
1939 65 and 4 months
1940 65 and 6 months
1941 65 and 8 months
1942 65 and 10 months
1943-1954 66
1955 66 and 2 months
1956 66 and 4 months
1957 66 and 6 months
1958 66 and 8 months
1959 66 and 10 months
1960 or later 67

Note: persons born on January 1 of any year should refer to the FRA for the previous year, because when you’re born on the first of any month, SSA determines your birth month to be the month prior to your actual birth date.

Photo by Jule_Berlin

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