The Social Security reforms put in place in 1983 gradually raised the full retirement age (FRA), the age at which you can receive full benefits. FRA’s been at 66 for a while. But for those turning 62 this year, the FRA increases to 66 and two months. It continues to increase for people born after them. This article gives some details and explains how the change might affect planning.
And notably, while the full retirement age is now later – which means starting benefits at age 62 is “even earlier” and causes more of a reduction, while delaying until age 70 is “less” of a delay and doesn’t give as much of an increase – the relative value of delaying Social Security benefits isn’t substantively changed. For those who are optimistic about life expectancy, concerned about market returns, or wanting to hedge against inflation, the value of delaying Social Security remains about the same. However, because of how early benefit reductions are calculated for survivor benefits, the new rules actually do substantially reduce the value of delaying widow(er) benefits for surviving spouses – at least, if they’re not also facing the Social Security Earnings Test!