what is full retirement age?

What is Full Retirement Age for Social Security?

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Full Retirement Age (or “FRA”) is the age at which you can receive the full retirement benefits owed to you by Social Security

If you take your retirement benefit at FRA, you will receive your full Primary Insurance Amount (or “PIA”). (Your PIA is the amount Social Security owes you if you claim at your Full Retirement Age.) 

If you claim benefits after your FRA, you will receive more than your PIA. If you claim before your FRA, you will receive less than your PIA. 

We know. It’s a lot of acronyms. But translating Social Security helps you maximize your retirement benefits.

what is FRA social security

What is my Full Retirement Age?

Full Retirement Age is not a universal thing. Instead, it is calculated based on the year that you were born.

See the table below for the facts*.

What is my Full Retirement Age

*Of course, those aren’t all the facts. As you may already know… the Social Security Administration (SSA) rules are a little quirky. Here are 2 important “exceptions” to the table above:

  1. If your birthday is the 1st of the month, SSA determines your benefit as if you were born in the previous month. So if you were born on January 1, 1955, then to the SSA, you were born in December 1954. Therefore, your Full Retirement Age is 66 (instead of 66 and 2 months).
  2. The earliest you can start receiving retirement benefits is age 62. However (due to an SSA technicality), you must be 62 for a full month to begin receiving benefits. 

Takeaways

Social Security can be confusing to navigate. But understanding the terminology gives you greater control over the decisions that are right for you and your finances. It will also ensure that you avoid costly mistakes.

So remember:

  • At Full Retirement Age, you’re entitled to 100% of the Social Security benefits earned over your career.
  • Your Personal Insurance Amount is what you’re owed if you claim at your FRA.

Increasingly, online Social Security blogs and free calculators are helping people navigate the nuance of the SSA rules. Through better education around social security, we can all be empowered to maximize what we’ve earned.