There is so much to learn about Social Security, but one of the most important things to know about is the Full Retirement Age (FRA). The FRA is the age that you will qualify to receive all of your Social Security benefits.
Social Security’s full retirement age varies depending on your birth year, but it ranges between the age 65 and age 67.
What is FRA?
The normal retirement age is usually when you become entitled to the full or unreduced retirement benefits from Social Security. Your FRA may have little to do with when you actually decide to retire, but it should be a part of your retirement planning.
Social Security is designed to provide you with about 40% of your pre-retirement income. You qualify for Social Security once you reach 40 retirement credits, which is the equivalent of 10 years of work. You can claim your Social Security benefits at any point after reaching age 62. However, you only receive 100% of your benefit if you wait to claim until your full retirement age.
When to take Social Security
The earlier you start drawing Social Security, the smaller your monthly payment will be. If you start at 62, you will receive 25% less per month than you would at your full retirement age of 66 (if you were born between 1943 and 1954). For those born later, the reduction grows gradually to 30%. The retirement age is 67 for people born in 1960 or later. For those born between 1955 and 1959, a few months are added each year to bridge the gap from 66 to 67.
If you can wait until you’re 70 to claim Social Security, your monthly payment will be 32% more. Waiting until you are older than age 70 does not increase your monthly benefits.
It’s important to know what your FRA is and to use it to your advantage. Your FRA should be included in your retirement planning.