Critical ages on the Social Security benefits timeline

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It's essential to know the critical ages regarding taking Social Security that may impact the amount of your benefits. 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 a suitable age to start taking Social Security that is appropriate for your situation. In this article, we outline key ages on the Social Security benefits timeline to help you take action on this important decision impacting your financial future.

Before age 60:

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 age 19 if still a high school student.

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

Ages 25 to 60- Each year, review your Social Security Statement to check for accuracy. If you need a current statement, contact your financial professional or order your report at

After age 60:

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

Age 62- Divorced spouse benefits- Your divorced spouse can 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. The benefits they get don’t affect the amount you or your current spouse can get. Also, your former spouse can get benefits even if you haven’t started to receive retirement benefits. You both must be at least 62 and divorced at least two years.

Age 65- If you were born in 1937 or earlier,you've reached full retirement age and the end of earnings limit and are now eligible for your full Social Security retirement benefit amount.

Age 66- If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you've reached your full retirement age and the end of earnings limit.

Age 67- For those born in 1960 or later, you are eligible to start taking Social Security but at a reduced benefit amount since Social Security is gradually 'raising' the full retirement age. Workers with an older full retirement age may experience a more significant benefit reduction for taking Social Security payments before their full retirement age.

Age 70- You've reached your full retirement age, and your benefit will no longer increase if you continue working.

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. 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 later age.

Medicare- Medicare is our country's health insurance plan for people who are age 65 or older, have been on Social Security Disability benefits for 24 months, or have End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Other information about Medicare:

  • The cost of Medicare is deducted from your monthly Social Security benefit amount
  • Sign up for Medicare Part A three months before your 65th birthday.
  • You should sign up for Medicare even if you don’t plan to retire at age 65 to avoid the late enrollment penalty.
  • Medicare Part B is not covered under Social Security; you must pay for it or opt out of Part B.
  • Medicare prescription drug plan Part D is optimal, and you must elect to have this coverage.

Deciding when to start receiving Social Security benefits can be confusing, and your decision can mean a difference in thousands of dollars each year. Your financial professional can help you understand Social Security, calculate your benefits at milestone ages, and work with you to develop a plan that suits your situation.

Important Disclosures

Content in this material is for educational and general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by Fresh Finance.

LPL Tracking #1-05283597


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The opinions and views in this blog post are those of the authors, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult professional advisors with regard to your individual situation.


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