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Here’s the Average Social Security Benefit at Ages 62, 66, and 70 | The Motley Fool


In recent years, about one-quarter of new retirees claimed Social Security at age 62, meaning they started as soon as possible. And another one-quarter claimed Social Security between ages 63 and 65. That means about half of new retirees started benefits before age 66.

Statistically speaking, the vast majority of those people are leaving money on the table. A recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that fewer than 1% of retirees maximize their lifetime income by claiming Social Security before age 66.

Of course, different people have different priorities and circumstances, so there’s no universal best age to start Social Security. But future retirees should understand how claiming age factors into the equation. Read on to see the average retired worker benefit at ages 62, 66, and 70.

A person holding a fan of $100 bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

The average Social Security benefit for retirees

The Social Security Administration periodically publishes anonymized benefit data to promote transparency and improve public understanding. For instance, the average benefit for retirees was about $1,905 per month in Dec. 2023.

The table below pulls information from that same biannual report. It shows the average monthly Social Security benefit for retirees aged 62 to 70 as of Dec. 2023.

Retired Worker Age

Average Social Security Benefit

62

$1,298

63

$1,339

64

$1,460

65

$1,563

66

$1,740

67

$1,884

68

$1,948

69

$1,945

70

$2,038

Data source: Social Security Administration. Note: Payments have been rounded to the nearest dollar. The table shows the average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers aged 62 to 70 as of Dec. 2023.

As illustrated above, Social Security payouts generally increase with age, so the average retired worker benefit is much higher at age 70 than at age 62. Several factors play into that dynamic, but discrepancies in claiming age are the driving force.

All else being equal, a retired worker will receive their smallest possible benefit if they claim Social Security at age 62 and their biggest possible benefit if they claim at age 70. If that retired worker claims Social Security at age 66, their benefit will fall somewhere between the two amounts.

Those ages are noteworthy because 62 is the earliest possible claiming age, 70 is the latest sensible claiming age, and 66 provides a data point in the middle.

How your Social Security benefit is calculated

Social Security benefits are determined based on lifetime earnings and claiming age. Those variables come together in a two-step process, as detailed below:

  • Step 1: Determine the primary insurance amount (PIA). A formula is applied to the inflation-adjusted earnings from the 35 highest-paid years of a worker’s career to determine their PIA. The PIA is the benefit that worker will receive if they claim Social Security at full retirement age (FRA).
  • Step 2: Adjust the PIA for early or delayed retirement. Workers that claim Social Security before FRA receive less than 100% of their PIA. Workers that claim Social Security after FRA receive more than 100% of their PIA.

There are two qualifications to the second step. Eligibility for retirement benefits begins at age 62, so no one can claim earlier. And delayed retirement credits stop accumulating at age 70, so it doesn’t make sense to claim later.

The table below shows how birth year relates to FRA. It also details the benefit (as a percentage of PIA) a retiree would get by claiming Social Security at ages 62 and 70. In other words, the table shows the smallest and largest payout for all FRA groups.

Birth Year

Full Retirement Age

Benefit at Age 62

Benefit at Age 70

1943-1954

66

75%

132%

1955

66 and 2 months

74.2%

130.6%

1956

66 and 4 months

73.3%

129.3%

1957

66 and 6 months

72.5%

128%

1958

66 and 8 months

71.7%

126.6%

1959

66 and 10 months

70.8%

125.3%

1960 and later

67

70%

124%

Data source: Social Security Administration.

As the table indicates, workers can substantially increase their Social Security benefit by claiming at age 70 rather than age 62. And substituting numbers for the percentages really drives the point home.

Consider a hypothetical worker born in 1960 with a PIA of $1,000 per month. If they claimed Social Security at age 62, they would get $700 per month (70% of their PIA). But if they claim Social Security at age 70, they will get $1,240 per month (124% of their PIA). The worker receives an additional $540 per month (or $6,480 per year) if they claim Social Security at age 70.

The dollar total will vary from person to person based on differences in their PIA, but the percentage will remain constant. In other words, workers born in 1960 or later can increase their benefit 77% ($1,240 divided by $700) by claiming Social Security at age 70 rather than age 62.



Read More:Here’s the Average Social Security Benefit at Ages 62, 66, and 70 | The Motley Fool