Knowing the situations and critical ages of when to start Social Security benefits is essential. The age when you start to collect social security benefits impacts the amount you receive.

Getting the most out of your Social Security retirement benefits can be the difference of thousands of dollars over time. For this reason, you need to determine the best age to start taking Social Security for your situation.

Here are the critical ages on the Social Security benefits timeline to help you understand when you can collect and how your decision may impact your financial future.

Before age 62:

Ages 0 to 18 years, or up to age 19– A child may receive benefits on a retired parent’s record or through survivor benefits for a deceased parent up to age 18 or 19 if still a high school student.

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

Ages 25 to 60- Review your Social Security Statement to check for accuracy each year. Contact your financial professional or order your report at if you need a current benefits statement.

Collect Social Security at Age 62 or After

Age 62- You can start taking your Social Security retirement benefit from age 62 until age 70. However, your benefit will be higher the longer you delay taking Social Security retirement benefits. You can claim Social Security benefits a few years before your full retirement age, but your monthly benefit amount may reduce. For this reason, determining your benefit amount at your full retirement age (when you’re eligible for 100% of your earned benefit amount) is crucial in making an informed decision.

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

Age 62- Divorced spouse benefits- Your divorced spouse could get benefits on your Social Security record if the marriage lasted at least ten years. Your divorced spouse must be 62 or older and unmarried. Also, your former spouse can get benefits even if you haven’t started receiving retirement benefits. You both must be 62 and divorced for at least two years.

Age 65 and born in 1937 or earlier- You’ve reached full retirement age and are eligible for your full Social Security retirement benefit amount.

66- If born between 1938 and 1954, you’ve reached your full retirement age and are eligible for your full Social Security retirement benefit.

Age 66- If you were born between 1955 and 1959, your full retirement age gradually increases based on the following schedule until age 67:

  • 1955- Full retirement age 66 and 2 months
  • 1956- Full retirement age 66 and 4 months
  • 1957- Full retirement age 66 and 6 months
  • 1958- Full retirement age 66 and 8 months
  • 1959- Full retirement age 66 and 10 months

For those born in 1960 or later –

Age 67- you’ve reached your full retirement age. Delaying your benefits may provide you with a higher benefit amount.

68- Your monthly benefit amount increases based on the Social Security monthly benefit tables and your earnings credits.

Age 69- Your monthly benefit amount increases based on the Social Security monthly benefit tables and your earnings credits.

Age 70- You’ve reached the age where your monthly benefit will no longer increase if you continue working.

Other notable Social Security nuances to be aware of:

  • Not waiting until full retirement age to take benefits may mean up to 30% less each month for some individuals.
  • Once you start Social Security benefits, your decision can’t reverse to wait until a later age.
  • The cost of Medicare is deducted from your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

Deciding when to start receiving Social Security benefits can be confusing, and your decision can mean a difference in thousands of dollars each year. A financial professional can help you understand how taking benefits at each of these milestone ages may impact your situation.


Henley Wealth Group has been in existence for over 20 years. Our passion for helping others is what drove us to specialize in retirement planning and safe alternatives. Our owner Matthew is a member of the National Ethics Association and The Independent Excellence Group. Contact us today to learn more and get started.