Does Age Matter When Applying for Social Security Retirement Benefits?

By January 2, 2022 January 4th, 2022 No Comments

Age is certainly a factor when it comes to applying for your Social Security retirement benefits. The age you decide to retire and the number of years you have worked throughout your life can affect your benefits.

The Age That You Retire

Your Full Retirement Age is the age at which you begin receiving your full Social Security retirement benefits. It varies depending on what year you were born, but for most people, it’s between 66 and 67 years old. You can apply to begin receiving benefits as early as age 62, but the amount you receive will be reduced based on how many months away you are from your Full Retirement Age.

For instance, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, your retirement age is 66. If you decided to retire at the age of 62, you would be 48 months away from your Full Retirement Age, and your monthly benefits would be reduced by 25%. If you were born in 1960 or later, your retirement age is 67. Again, if you decided to retire at 62, you would be 60 months away from your Full Retirement Age, and your benefits would be reduced by 30%.

The Highest 35 Years of Earning

Another way age can affect your Social Security benefits is with the number of years you worked before you retired. Your benefits are based on the highest 35 years of earning. Therefore, if you stop working early and have less than 35 years of earnings, those remaining years will count as zero income. This can significantly affect your overall benefits.

Even if you have 35 years of earnings, you may have low-income earning years that will be factored into your overall benefit amount. The chances are good that early in your life, you made less money per year than you did later in life. So if you stop working before your retirement age, those low earning years will be factored in.

However, if you have more than 35 years, the 35 highest-earning years are calculated to provide your benefits. Therefore, a few of your low-income early years will be replaced by your high-income later years, thus giving you more benefits overall.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The age at which you apply for Social Security can significantly affect the amount of benefits you receive. There are advantages and disadvantages to applying early. Applying at 62 will give you benefits for longer but at a lower percentage. To maximize the amount you receive, it is best to have more than 35 years of earnings.


Knowing how and when to file for your retirement benefits can be confusing. Call Drew L. Johnson P.C. at (541) 434-6466 today with any questions you might have.