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Social Security Benefits FAQs

When Can I Receive Benefits?

You can begin to receive retirement benefits as early as age 62. However, your benefit would be reduced as to what you would receive at full retirement age. If you wait until full retirement age, you will receive your full benefit. You can also wait until age 70 and increase your benefit due to ‘delayed retirement credits’.

What Age Can You Receive Full Benefits?

1937 or earlier65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months
1960 and later67

When Can I Apply for Benefits?

You can apply for Social Security retirement benefits when you are at least 61 years and 9 months of age. You should apply three months before you want your benefits to start.

What Is the Eligibility for Spousal Benefits?

If you have not worked or do not have enough Social Security credits to qualify for your own Social Security benefits, you may be able to receive spouse’s benefits. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be:

  • At least 62 years of age; or
  • Any age and caring for a child entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record who is younger than age 16 or disabled.

If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, Social Security will always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit.

What Are the Rules for Survivors Benefits?

A widow or widower can receive benefits

What if I Get Divorced?

A divorced spouse can get benefits based on a former husband’s or wife’s social security record, provided the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and the divorced spouse is 62 years old or older and unmarried. You do not have to wait until your former spouse retires to receive benefits, and you can receive benefits even if your former spouse remarries.

  • At age 60 or older.
  • At age 50 or older if disabled.
  • At any age if she or he takes care of a child of the deceased who is younger than age 16 or disabled.