When Can You First Take Social Security?

As you’re nearing the point when you are planning to receive your Social Security benefits, it may occur to you to question just when do these milestones take effect?  Just when are you considered first eligible for benefits, when are you at Full Retirement Age, and when have you reached the maximum age?

For Social Security age purposes, the month of your birthdate is important – but that’s not the date at which you reach the milestone.  It’s actually the month after your birthday, the month when you are that particular age for the entire month.

For example, if your birthdate is January 15, 1950, you will actually reach age 62 on January 15, 2012 – but you’ll be eligible for benefits beginning with February of 2012.  Likewise, since your Full Retirement Age is 66, you will reach Full Retirement Age by Social Security’s records as of February, 2016.  You’ll also reach the maximum benefit age of 70 (for Social Security’s purposes) as of February, 2020.

The only time that this doesn’t follow is when your birthdate is the first of the month.  For Social Security purposes, when you have the first of the month as your birthdate, you are considered as having the month prior as your birth month.  See When Your Birthday Isn’t Your Birthday for more information.

About the author

Jim Blankenship, CFP®, EA

Jim Blankenship is the founder and principal of Blankenship Financial Planning, Ltd., a financial planning firm providing hourly, as-needed financial planning and advice. A financial services professional for over 25 years, Jim is a CFP professional and has earned the Enrolled Agent designation, a designation that qualifies him as enrolled to practice before the IRS. Jim is also a NAPFA-registered financial advisor, which designates him as a Fee-Only Financial Advisor.

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