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When Can You Collect Social Security?

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Understanding the intricacies of Social Security benefits and the critical ages associated with them is pivotal for maximizing your retirement income. The age at which you choose to start collecting Social Security can significantly influence the amount you receive over time. To ensure you make informed decisions aligned with your financial goals, let's explore the key milestones on the Social Security benefits timeline.

Before Age 62:

- Ages 0 to 18 or up to age 19 (high school student): Children may receive benefits on a retired parent's record or through survivor benefits for a deceased parent.

- Children with disabilities: Up to age 18 or older, children can receive Social Security benefits if they develop a disability before age 22.

- Ages 25 to 60: Regularly review your Social Security Statement for accuracy. Obtain your report at or consult your financial professional.

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Collecting Social Security at Age 62 or After:

- Age 62: You can start taking your Social Security retirement benefit, but delaying it until age 70 increases the monthly amount.

- Age 62: Social Security survivor benefits are available for spouses.

- Age 62: Divorced spouse benefits: A divorced spouse can receive benefits if the marriage lasted at least ten years, and they are 62 or older and unmarried.

- Age 65 (born in 1937 or earlier): Full retirement age, eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits.

- Age 66 (born between 1938 and 1954): Full retirement age, eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits.

- Age 66 (born between 1955 and 1959): Full retirement age gradually increases, reaching age 67.

For Those Born in 1960 or Later:

- Age 67: Full retirement age, but delaying benefits may result in a higher amount.

- Age 68: Monthly benefit amount increases based on Social Security tables and earnings credits.

- Age 69: Monthly benefit amount continues to increase based on Social Security tables and earnings credits.

- Age 70: Monthly benefit no longer increases if you continue working.

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Notable Social Security Nuances:

- Not waiting until full retirement age may result in up to 30% less each month for some individuals.

- Once you start Social Security benefits, the decision cannot be reversed to wait until a later age.

- The cost of Medicare is deducted from your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

Deciding when to initiate Social Security benefits is a complex task, with substantial financial implications. Your choice at each milestone age can impact your financial well-being. Seek guidance from a financial professional to gain a comprehensive understanding of how different scenarios may influence your specific situation.

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