How to Apply for Social Security Benefits at Age 62

In this article...
  • If you are planning to retire at age 62, Social Security benefits can help to fund this dream. Here are some facts about early applications for Social Security.

Early retirement is a dream for many people. Social Security benefits can be an important way of achieving that dream. Understanding the application process and the consequences of early retirement on your Social Security benefits can help you make the most practical decisions about this source of income in retirement.

How Can I Apply for Social Security at Age 62?

Your Social Security eligibility begins during the first full month in which you are age 62, which is the month after your birthday in most cases. You can apply for Social Security four months before that date. For instance, if you turn 62 in May, you can apply in February to begin receiving benefits from Social Security in June.

There is an important exception to this guideline. People with birthdays that fall on the first or second day of the month can begin receiving benefits during the month in which their birthday falls. For these individuals, an example would look like this:

  • Mary turns 62 on May 1.  She can apply in February to begin receiving benefits in May.

You can apply for Social Security online or visit your local Social Security Administration office to apply for benefits.

Why Apply Early?

The advantage of early application for Social Security benefits is the extended period over which you will receive these payments. This can be an important motivating factor for those who may need to retire early for various reasons.

While applying for and receiving Social Security benefits as soon as possible may seem like a good idea, there are some significant potential drawbacks. Considering these issues can help you to make the right choice for you and your family.

The Downside of Early Applications

Applying for Social Security benefits at age 62 can lower the amount of your monthly benefits by as much as 30%. This can significantly reduce the available funds you will have to enjoy your retirement. Delaying your application for Social Security, on the other hand, can have a positive impact on the amount you will receive each month in these benefits.

The Social Security Administration has established a Full Retirement Age (FRA) of between 66 and 67 for most retirees. You can see the exact amount of your earned benefits by visiting the Social Security website. This online resource can also provide information on your FRA and the impact of claiming your Social Security benefits at various stages of your journey.

Applying for Social Security at age 62 not only affects the amount you receive in benefits. Cost-of-living adjustments, known as COLA, are based on your benefit amount, you will receive a smaller COLA increase than if you had waited until your FRA to apply for Social Security.

Why Waiting May Make Sense

Waiting until your FRA to apply for Social Security can increase the amount you receive in benefits each month. You will receive an 8% increase in your benefit payment for every year you delay receiving benefits. If you can put off receiving Social Security payments until age 70, that could add up to an almost 25% increase in the amount you receive each month.

Take some time to consider whether applying for Social Security benefits to begin at age 62 or at any age after that best helps you fund your retirement in the most practical way. The Social Security Administration can provide you with financial figures that will assist you in your decision-making process. Taking a hard look at the financial implications of retiring at various ages and at your personal situation will allow you to enjoy greater financial flexibility during your retirement years.