The answer to this question has a few different facets. First, there is the age of full Social Security eligibility, and the parameters are a bit convoluted. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you will be eligible for a full benefit when you are 66 years old.
That’s simple enough, but it gets complicated from there. The eligibility age then goes up by two months each year, so someone that was born in 1955 would become eligible two months after their 66th birthday.
This two-month per year graduation continues until 1960 when it tops out at 67. As it stands at this time, anyone that was born in 1960 or after will become eligible for a full benefit when they are 67 years of age.
You can decide to receive an early benefit when you are as young as 62 years old. That sounds great on the surface, but if you do so, your benefit will be reduced by somewhere between 25 percent and 30 percent. The exact amount of the reduction will depend on your year of birth.
Another negative thing about an early benefit is the fact that you would have a limit on the amount you can earn before you would be penalized. It changes annually, but it is quite modest, so taking an early benefit while you are still working full time would not make a lot of sense.
It is possible to delay the submission of your application beyond your full retirement age, and this would increase your benefit when you start to receive it.