In excess of 60% of Americans who are receiving Social Security say that they rely on it as their foundational source of retirement income. So if you are among the majority, your anticipated Social Security benefit is probably something that will play a role as you are planning for your retirement years. But even if you have been successful enough to be in a position where you do not really need your Social Security benefit to get by, you certainly paid into the system and it can only help to enhance your legacy and enable you to provide that much more for your loved ones after you pass away.
According to current parameters, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, you reach full retirement age on your 66th birthday. After this, full retirement age goes up by two months per year until the year 1960. Those born in 1960 and later reach full retirement age at 67. It should be noted that you do not have to wait until you reach full retirement age to claim a Social Security benefit. You can apply for Social Security when you’re as young as 62 and receive a reduced benefit; for those born between 1943 in 1954, that reduction would be 25% below the full benefit.
On the other side of the ledger, you can choose to work beyond your full retirement age in an effort to earn delayed retirement credits, which will increase your monthly benefit when you do apply. The amount of the increase would be 8% for each year that you worked past full retirement age up until the age of 70.
Working past your full retirement age can result in an increase in your benefit in another way as well. Your highest 35 earning years are used to calculate the amount of your benefit. So if you earn more during the years that you work past your full retirement age than you did earlier in your career these years could replace years during which you earned less and your benefit would rise as a result.