2017 Brings New Changes to Full Retirement Age

January 6, 2017 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

3 elderly people siting on a stoopEvery worker’s dream is to enjoy a secure retirement. Social Security is here to secure today and tomorrow. Part of that commitment is ensuring you have the most up-to-date information when you make your retirement decisions.

As the bells ring in the New Year, they also bring changes for new Social Security retirement beneficiaries. Full retirement age is 66 and two months for people born 01/02/1955 through 01/01/1956.  They are eligible to receive permanently reduced retirement benefits when they turn 62 in 2017.

Full retirement age is the age at which a person first becomes entitled to full (unreduced) retirement benefits.  It had been 65 for many years.  However, beginning with people born in 1938 that age has been gradually increasing until it reaches 67 for people born in 1960 and later.

As the full retirement age continues to increase, there are greater reductions in benefits if you claim them before you reach full retirement age.  For example, if you apply for benefits in 2017 at age 62, your monthly benefit amount will be reduced nearly 26 percent.

You can find your full retirement age, along with other important information, on our website.

Some things you must remember when you’re thinking about retirement:

  1. You may start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the higher your monthly benefit will be.
  2. Your monthly benefits are reduced permanently if you start them any time before full retirement age.
  3. If you die, your retirement date can affect the payment to your surviving widow or widower.  If you started receiving retirement benefits before full retirement age, we cannot pay your surviving spouse their full retirement age benefit amount.  We base their benefit on the amount of your reduced benefits.
  4. If you elect to receive benefits before you reach full retirement age, you should understand how continuing to work  affects your benefits.

You can learn more by reading our publication, When to Start Receiving Benefits or visiting our Retirement Planner.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. Fred W.

    I began drawing Social Security at 64 to move and be closer to grandchildren. While I had many years Social Security covered earnings, I do have a non-covered pension, which per WEP rules, drastically reduced my benefit. However, I went back to working full-time, having Social Security tax withheld, for the past three years. Does this not affect AIME and possibly change the WEP formula?

    • Vonda

      Hi Fred, thank you for your question. If you have 30 or more years of substantial earnings, we don’t reduce the standard 90 percent in our benefit formula. However, if you have 21 to 29 years of substantial earnings, we reduce the 90 percent factor to between 45 and 85 percent. Each year that you work and pay into the Social Security system could result in an adjustment to the formula depending on your total wages for the year. Substantial earnings in 2020 are $25,575 or more. You can find a table that lists the amount of substantial earnings for each year at the bottom of the second page of the Windfall Elimination Provision fact sheet.

      If you have additional questions regarding the computation, you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  2. Denise S.

    I turn 66 mid February, is my 66+2 Mid April or Do I start collecting in May for full benefits. This is not clear in anything I could find. Thank You

    • Vonda

      Hi Denise, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. If you wait until your full retirement age, you will get your full benefit. If your full retirement age is 66 and two months, and you turn 66 in February, you will attain your full retirement age in April. One exception to that is for individuals that are born on the 1st of the month. We figure their benefit (and their full retirement age) as if their birthday was in the previous month.

      Check out our Early or Late Retirement Calculator to compute your full retirement age.

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