According to, over fifty-five million people depend on their social security benefits—that’s one out of every six Americans. Social Security benefits is the most valuable part of your retirement plan and over ninety percent of seniors rely on it for their income. However, some seniors are choosing to use their social security before their full retirement age and are taking a hit to their benefits.

So what is full retirement age and how can you get the most out of your social security benefits? Full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. Currently, the FRA ranges between 65 and 66 years old depending on what year you were born.

You can also start receiving benefits at age 62, however, your monthly benefit amount is reduced by about 30 percent. Depending on what age you decide to start using your benefits, if it is before your FRA, you will be penalized as follows: age 63 is about 25 percent, 64 is about 20 percent, 65 is about 13.3 percent, and 66 is about 6.7 percent.

How to Maximize Your Social Security

The best way to maximize your social security benefits is to not give in early. The longer you wait, the better payout you will receive in the long run. Your benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on date of birth) if you delay your retirement beyond full retirement age. Take for example someone who has a FRA of 66 but waits to use their benefits at age 70, that person will be rewarded with a benefit that is 32 percent higher than their age-66 benefit. Keep in mind that after age 70, the benefit increase no longer applies.

In conclusion, waiting as long as you can to use your benefits can certainly maximize your payout in the long run. Deciding whether or not it is a healthy choice for you is something that you will have to decide for yourself. If you’re in good health and have a family history of long living, then we definitely encourage you to consider waiting until your FRA to receive benefits.