The earliest you can start collecting retirement benefits is age 62, you can apply once you reach 61 years and 9 months of age. However, Social Security reduces your payment if you start collecting before your full retirement age, or FRA. FRA is 66 and 4 months for people boarn in 1956 and is gradually riseing to 67 for those born in 1960 or later.
Your payment will increase even more if you wait until age 70 to apply, as you’ll be accruing delayed retirement credits. You can apply later than 70 but it doesn’t change your benefits. The starting age can differ for other types of Social Security Benefits.
These can begin at 62, as long as the spouse on whose work record you are claiming them is already receiving retirement benefits. Spousal benefits are reduced if taken before FRA.
You can apply for benefits on the record of a deceased spouse or-ex-spouse at 60, 50 if you are disabled, or any age if you are careing for the deceased’s under-16 or disabled child. These are also reduced if claimed prior to full retirement age, which is currently 66 for survivors.
Social Security Disability (Insurance SSDI) No age requirement, but you must have spent some time in work in which you paid Social Security taxes. The amount of time increases with age, but you may qualify for SSDI with less time in the workforce than you need to collect retirement benefits. You must also demonstrate that your medical condition meets Social Security’s strict definition of disability and show evidence that it prevents you from working.
The question of when you should start taking benefits is up to you. In the last 40 years that I have helped future retirees understand their choices is, what is your current financial status. Here are some of the reasons they picked these options.
Some of those who don’t need it now have chosen to take it now and invest it in the market place with safety. example: If worried you may need Long Term Care in the future, you can invest your monthly SSI in an annuity that will give you access to 3x’s the amount of the investment when you need it.
Use some of the money to create a safe money fund for grand children to help pay for a down payment on a house when older to start acquiring wealth. Just think of the many ways to help your family better them selves with your help.