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Is Social Security Raising the Retirement Age?

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Summary: You may have heard that the Social Security retirement age is going up. The answer is yes – it’s gradually going up a little at a time. And because Social Security has ties to Medicare, it’s helpful to know about changes to the Social Security retirement age.

What’s the retirement age now?

Your retirement age depends on

  • What year you were born
  • Whether you want “full benefits” or reduced benefits

You may have heard that the traditional retirement age was 65. It’s true that 65 was the full retirement age for many years. In fact, 65 is still the full retirement age if you were born in 1937 or before.

What’s “full” retirement age?

Full retirement age means the age at which you start receiving your full Social Security Administration (SSA) retirement amount. You may receive more or less than your full retirement amount if you start receiving benefits before or after your full retirement age.

You can generally start getting SSA benefits as young as 62 years old. But you’ll get a reduced monthly benefit. On the other hand, you can usually decide to delay your SSA retirement benefits, and then you’ll get a higher amount. Here’s an example. Suppose you were born in 1943.

If you start getting SSA retirement benefits at:

  • 62 – you’ll generally get less money per month. Since you were born in 1943, you’ll get 25% less per month.
  • 66 – this is your full retirement age if you were born in 1943. You’ll typically get 100% of your retirement benefits.
  • 70 – In most cases, you’ll get a higher monthly benefit. If you were born in 1943, you’ll generally get 8% more per year than if you had started your SSA benefits at age 66.

If you delay these benefits past age 70, your benefit will not keep increasing.

When will the retirement age go up?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has already increased the retirement age for those who are now reaching age 65. It’s 66 now, and gradually going up to age 67. The retirement age increases slightly for every age group (starting with those born in 1938). There are several age groups. Here are just a few examples:

  • Currently, age 66 is the full retirement age for people born between 1943 and 1954.
  • A person born in 1955 will have to be 66 and 2 months to be considered at full retirement age.
  • Someone born in 1957 will have to be age of 66 1/2 to receive full benefits.
  • If you were born in 1960 or later, you can’t receive full Social Security benefits until age 67.

How does my retirement age affect my Medicare benefits?

You can generally still get Medicare benefits at age 65 even if you haven’t reached your SSA retirement age.

You typically don’t need to apply for Social Security benefits to get your Medicare coverage. Read about how to apply for Medicare.

As you plan for retirement, you may be thinking about what type of Medicare coverage you want. You can start comparing plans today – just enter your zip code in the box on this page.

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