How to Increase Your Social Security Benefit by 8% per Year

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

Most people have either received their Social Security statement in the mail or have reviewed it online but do you know what your “full retirement age” is and what it actually means?  Full retirement age (FRA) is defined as the age at which a worker is entitled to 100% of their Social Security benefit.  Below is a summary of the current full retirement age “schedule” according to year of birth:

 Source:  ssa.gov

Source:  ssa.gov

The earliest you can collect benefits on your own earnings record is 62, however, the benefit will be permanently reduced, and in most cases, is not something we recommend to clients.  Each year benefits are delayed, you are entitled to a permanent, 8% increase in benefit.  You can also continue to delay beyond your full retirement age until age 70 to fully maximize your benefit. 

Knowing your full retirement age, given your date of birth, is very important because it can impact when you ultimately decide to file and what your actual benefit will be.  As many of you have noticed, several years ago, the Social Security Administration stopped mailing annual Social Security statements out to most Americans as a cost savings measure.  However, creating an account and checking your Social Security statement online has become very easy and is something we recommend to all clients who are still working.  You should check the statement for accuracy as it relates to your wages for the year and to see if your benefits have changed in any way. For step-by-step instructions to quickly set up your own online Social Security account, click here.

Social Security is a critical part of most retirees’ financial game plan, so knowing things such as your full retirement age, is important to make sure you are making the most of the benefits that you’ve earned.  If you have questions about Social Security, we’ll find the answers.  We have a team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals who can help guide you through one of the most important financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.  

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.


This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler, CFP® and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.