Social Security Planning

Things to consider when deciding when to claim Social Security.

Maximize your Social Security benefits.

When to claim Social Security is a big decision with a potentially big impact. While each person’s situation is different, knowing some basics can help you see how Social Security fits into your overall retirement plan.

Your Social Security retirement benefits can be affected by a number of life circumstances, including marriage, divorce, and working while collecting benefits before your full retirement age (FRA). It’s important to know your options, and any rules that apply, to take full advantage of your benefits.

What's your full retirement age (FRA)?

Your benefit is calculated based on your full retirement age (FRA), according to the year you were born. Visit the Social Security Administration website for more information about other factors that may affect your benefits.

If you were born ... Your full retirement age is ...
Before 1937 65
Between 1938 and 19421 65+
Between 1943 and 1954 66
Between 1955 and 19592 66+
After 1960 67

Source: Social Security Administration.
1For people born between 1938 and 1942, FRA is between age 65 and 2 months and age 65 and 10 months, depending on birth year.
2For people born between 1955 and 1959, FRA is between age 66 and 2 months and age 66 and 10 months, depending on birth year.

What is the optimal age to take Social Security retirement benefits?

If you're over age 35, the T. Rowe Price Social Security Optimizer can help estimate the optimal age to start collecting benefits, which could result in a greater cumulative lifetime benefit.

Why is it important to optimize your benefits?

You can start collecting benefits at age 62, but that doesn’t mean you should. Each year you can wait increases your annual benefit amount by 7% to 8%, up to age 70. That could make a difference of thousands of dollars for your retirement income.

Here are three retirement benefits Social Security provides:

A lifetime income stream, which can help meet the challenge of outliving your savings.

Annual cost-of-living adjustments (if applicable), in an attempt to protect purchasing power.

Income for a surviving spouse, since benefits are often carried over when the first spouse dies.

Get a customized strategy.

Answer a few questions and use the Social Security Optimizer to find a strategy designed to optimize your Social Security benefits. When you use the Social Security Optimizer, your report will include:

  • Information on how to leverage the Social Security rules to make the most of your benefits.
  • Key details on how Social Security benefits really work.
  • Analysis that helps you compare claiming strategies

Get expert insights; gain clearer understanding.

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Explore how Social Security fits into your plan.

Get an optimization strategy

The Social Security Optimizer can help estimate the optimal age to start collecting benefits.

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The information provided in the Social Security Optimizer tool is for general and educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. This tool allows you to explore hypothetical scenarios for claiming social security benefits. Results are intended as an aid, are not guaranteed, and should not be your only source of information when making financial decisions. Please consider your own circumstances before deciding which claiming strategy is appropriate and seek independent legal, financial and tax advice before making any decisions. Other T. Rowe Price educational tools or advice services may use different assumptions and methods and may yield different results.