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10 Frequently Asked Social Security Benefit Questions

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What is the Social Security retirement age? The age when you can claim your full Social Security benefit varies depending on your birth year. The full retirement age is 65 for those born in 1937 or earlier, 66 for baby boomers born between 1943 and 1954, and 67 for people born in 1960 or later. Those born in 1938 to 1942 and 1955 to 1959 have an even more specific retirement age. For example, the full retirement age is 65 and 10 months for people born in 1942 and 66 and 4 months for boomers with birth dates in 1956. Those who sign up for Social Security between ages 62 and their full retirement age get smaller monthly payments, while delaying claiming can increase your benefit up until age 70. "Just because you are 62 you don't necessarily have to take it," says Rianka Dorsainvil, founder and president of Your Greatest Contribution in Lanham, Maryland. "Each year you delay taking Social Security from your full retirement age up until age 70 your benefit increases by 8 percent each year."

How do you apply for Social Security? You can apply for Social Security online at ssa.gov, by calling 1-800-772-1213 or in person at your local Social Security office. You must be at least 61 years and 9 months old to submit an application for retirement or spousal benefits, and payments can start as early as age 62. Your age when you enroll plays a big role in determining your payment amount, so take care to see how much you will receive at various claiming ages.

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