Your age when you choose to collect Social Security has a big impact on the amount of money you ultimately get from the program. The earliest age that you can file for Social Security is 62. If you choose to do that, based on your job situation, health, or other reasons, you will receive a lower benefit—a permanent reduction of as much as 25%.
The key age is your Full Retirement Age (FRA). For people born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66. It gradually climbs toward 67 if your birthday falls between 1955 and 1959. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. Once you hit full retirement age, you can still choose to wait to collect on your Social Security retirement benefits, and there’s a big bonus to delaying your claim—your benefit will grow by 8% a year up until age 70. Any cost-of-living adjustments will be included, too, so you don’t forgo those by waiting. But keep in mind, after you turn 70 it usually doesn’t make sense to wait because your benefit will no longer grow.