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“What is Early Retirement?”

By Christina April 13, 2017

Social Security offers a wide variety of benefits and services to individuals of all ages, just one of which is the opportunity for workers to start collecting their retirement benefits at age 62. This is known as “Social Security Early Retirement,” and if you choose to take early retirement, then Social Security will reduce your benefit amount based on the number of months you will be receiving benefits before reaching full retirement age.

If you are wondering what this means, here is an example to help you: the chart below was taken directly from Social Security’s webpage, and it shows a wide range of benefit amounts, including an individual with a full retirement age of 66 receiving a 25% reduction in benefits if they chose to retire early at age 62. Therefore, this individual would be receiving 75% of the monthly benefit they would have received if they had waited until full retirement age. Please refer to this chart for even more examples of how Social Security calculates your benefit reduction.


Primary and spousal benefits at age 62
(benefits based on a $1,000 primary insurance amount)
Year of
Normal (or full)
Number of
Primary Spouse
Amount Percent
Amount Percent
1937 or earlier 65 36 $800 20.00% $375 25.00%
1938 65 and 2 months 38 791 20.83% 370 25.83%
1939 65 and 4 months 40 783 21.67% 366 26.67%
1940 65 and 6 months 42 775 22.50% 362 27.50%
1941 65 and 8 months 44 766 23.33% 358 28.33%
1942 65 and 10 months 46 758 24.17% 354 29.17%
1943-1954 66 48 750 25.00% 350 30.00%
1955 66 and 2 months 50 741 25.83% 345 30.83%
1956 66 and 4 months 52 733 26.67% 341 31.67%
1957 66 and 6 months 54 725 27.50% 337 32.50%
1958 66 and 8 months 56 716 28.33% 333 33.33%
1959 66 and 10 months 58 708 29.17% 329 34.17%
1960 and later 67 60 700 30.00% 325 35.00%


If you currently have an open Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim and are considering early retirement, you may also be wondering how this would affect your SSDI claim. Simply put, you would be able to receive the reduced retirement benefits while you are waiting for the decision of Social Security Disability benefits. The monthly SSDI benefits is likely to be higher than the early retirement benefit because it will not be subject to the benefit reduction.  If you are awarded SSDI benefits, Social Security will pay you the higher benefit.

Please let us know if you ever have questions about your SSDI benefits, or about how other benefits you collect could impact what you may receive from Social Security.

This post was written by one of our Client Advocates, Melissa.


Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way.  The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances.

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