Retirement Age for Full Benefits Discussed

Article excerpt

Byline: William Schultz Elgin Social Security District Manager

Should the retirement age for full Social Security benefits be increased? In view of the added burden the increased life expectancy is expected to place on the Social Security system, the idea is being discussed in the current dialogue on the future of Social Security.

When Social Security started in 1935, the retirement age was 65. At that time, the life expectancy of someone entering the work force at age 20 was 68 years.

Today, the life expectancy of someone entering the work force at age 20 is 77.4 years. And life expectancy for both men and women is continuing to increase.

In 1983, Congress increased the age for full retirement benefits from age 65 to 67. The change takes place gradually, starting in the year 2000, and increases gradually until 2027 when the age for full retirement benefits will be 67.

If your full retirement age is over 65, you still can retire at age 62, but the reduction in your benefit amount is greater.

When you take early retirement, your benefits are permanently reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach full retirement age.

Generally, early retirement gives you about the same total Social Security benefits over your lifetime, but in smaller amounts to take into account the longer period you will receive them. …