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.
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 changed 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 1947 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 more complicated, you will need to add 2 months for every year after 1954. For example if you were born in 1956 your full social security age would be 66 and four months. See below 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. And if you do start early that number never changes even when you reach your full retirement age. The older Boomers have already begun to access their Social Security benefits. Check out Social Security's website for more information and help. You can actually apply for benefits online.
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 $14,640. 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
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
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