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Your Social Security

It seems like everyone I talked to has a different opinion on when they would be eligible for Social Security. Some younger folks said that they couldn't retire until they were at least 70. A lot of older folks believe that they can't start drawing their Social Security until they reach 65. They are all partially right.

I'm not going to get into whether or not Social Security will survive the next few years. There are too many factors that could save it or destroy it, and most of them live in Washington, DC. I am simply going to give you the current status of your Social Security eligibility.

It is true that there are different full retirement ages depending on when you were born. However, each person payinginto Social Security can start drawing their partial retirementat age 62. The chart below indicates at what age you can retire and receive your full benefits.

Year of Birth

Note: Persons born on January 1 of any year should refer to the previous year.

Full Retirement Age

1937 or earlier - 65

1938 - 65 and 2 months

1939 - 65 and 4 months

1940 - 65 and 6 months

1941 - 65 and 8 months

1942 - 65 and 10 months

1943--1954 - 66

1955 - 66 and 2 months

1956 - 66 and 4 months


66 and 6 months

1958 - 66 and 8 months

1959 = 66 and 10 months

1960 and later - 67

Visit to see the complete chart of Social Security Full Retirement and Reductions by Age

By the chart above someone born in 1955 can start receiving the full benefits at age 66 years and 2 months. If they choose to retire between age 62 and 66 years and 2 months this benefit will be reduced based on the number of months they retire early.If they chose to retire after age 66 years and 2 months the benefit will increase.

Each person has to decide at what age they want to start receiving their Social Security based on their individual circumstances. Here is something to consider: Based on my own situation, if I wait until I am 66 years old to draw my full Social Security I will be about 72 years old before I draw as much money as I would have if I had started drawing my partial Social Security at age 62. It's something to think about.

Besides retirement benefitsFeature Articles, Social Security also covers disability and death benefits. This is a fairly complicated program but it might not hurt to learn as much as you can by visiting the Social Security web site. You can also request a Social Security Statement which includes a record of your earnings history and an estimate of how much you and your employer paid in Social Security taxes Estimates of benefits you (and your family) may be eligible for now and in the future.

Social Security was never intended to be your only source of income after you retire. In most cases your monthly check will only be a fraction of what you were earning before retirement. It would be wise to start a savings and investment program as soon as possible to ensure that you have enough money when retirement rolls around. This link may help get you started:

Article Tags: Social Security, Full Retirement

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Terry Rigg is the author of Living Within Your Means - The Easy Way and editor of The FREE Budget Stretcher Newsletter and Budget Stretcher web site He has 25 years of experience counseling individuals and families concerning their personal finances.

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