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Key Retirement Birthdays: Age 65, Social Security Mentality

BOSTON (CBS) - Current thinking has 65 as the normal retirement age and that's because at one time a worker could collect full Social Security benefits at age 65. No more. Full benefit age is now 67.

Key Retirement Birthdays: Age 65, Social Security Mentality

But Medicare, the health insurance for retirees, starts at age 65. Even though you are not going to start your Social Security benefit you need to sign up for Medicare a couple of months before your 65th birthday. You will also need to figure out part D, which is the prescription drug program and what Medigap insurance to buy.

Congress made some changes to Social Security benefits back in the 80s in hopes of making the reserves last longer. The retirement age to collect full Social Security benefits was increased to age 67. Congress didn't want to impact those close to retirement so those changes are being phased in until anyone born in 1960 or later will have to be age 67 to collect their full Social Security benefits.

If you were born between 1943 and 1954 your full Social Security retirement age is 66. If you were born in 1950 you will turn 65 this year and you won't be able to collect full benefits until next year.

If you were born between 1954 and 1960 it gets a little more complicated, you will need to add 2 months for every year after 1954. For example if you were born in 1957 your full social security age would be 66 and six months. Check our website for a chart to help you figure out your full Social Security retirement age.

Now you can still start to collect your Social Security benefits early, as early as age 62 but you will receive a lesser amount, about 25% less. And if you have begun to collect early benefits that lower percentage never changes even when you reach your full retirement age.

Check out Social Security's website for help. You can apply for benefits online.

One more thing: If you begin collecting benefits before your full retirement age and continue to work, you could lose some of your future benefits if you earn more than a certain amount a year. For this year, if you're under your full retirement age, you'll lose $1 for every $2 in earnings over $15,720. That could be painful for Social Security withholds the dollars the following year and you may not be able to work to make up the difference in your lower Social Security benefit.

Social Security Benefits:

Year Born             Age you can collect full benefits

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

1957                      66 and 6 months

1958                      66 and 8 months

1959                      66 and 10 months

1960 & later          67




You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.


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