Planning to claim Social Security at 65? Here's why you may need to rethink that

Richard Ropelewski |

Why people think there's something special about 65

The idea that 65 is the ideal age to start Social Security benefits isn't completely off the mark. When the program was originally created in 1935, people became eligible for benefits at 65. In the decades since, the government altered the program, allowing people to claim as early as 62 in exchange for reduced benefit checks. If they wanted the full benefit they were entitled to based on their work history, they would have to wait until their full retirement age (FRA), which started off at 65. They could also choose to delay Social Security until they turned 70, when they'd get their largest possible benefit.

These law changes also introduced a rising full retirement age because people were living longer and thus claiming Social Security over a longer period of time. Individuals born in 1938 or later have an FRA that's older than 65. For individuals born between 1943 and 1954, it's 66. Then it rises by two months every year thereafter until it reaches 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

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The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.