SSA and Early Retirement

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Topic Author
cmc89585
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SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

I'm considering retiring a little early at 59 or 60. I called the Social Security Administration today to ask how SSA benefits would work in that case (where I would claim the benefits at 62 or later). The customer service rep at the SSA told me you CANNOT claim SSA at all if you retire before 62. (they pretty much yelled this at me so this really was painful to hear!)

I was pretty certain what they told me isn't the case from what I've read on this site and other finance sites, but after asking them to confirm, the agent insisted this is the case. I tried to call my HR to ask, but of course they can't give any info on SSA.

Can someone please give any guidance on this? Is it true that you can't get ANY social security benefits EVER if you retire before 62 years of age? I realize I wouldn't be able to claim SSA benefits before 62 years of age, but the agent swore you simply cannot ever get SSA benefits if you retire before 62 - in other words, doing so would throw all your SSA benefits out the window!

I'm hoping the customer service rep was just very mistaken. I want to call SSA again and talk to someone else, but the 2 hour wait and being yelled at by their agents is something I'd like to avoid if possible. :happy
Last edited by cmc89585 on Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jebmke
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by jebmke »

They are correct
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm They are correct
Really? Wow. But how do you explain Boglehead posts like this viewtopic.php?t=382542
where people are saying it doesn't matter when you retire re. claiming SSA?
jebmke
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by jebmke »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:25 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm They are correct
Really? Wow. But how do you explain posts like this viewtopic.php?t=382542
where people are saying it doesn't matter when you retire re. claiming SSA?
Everyone, depending on birth data has a "retirement age" according to SSA; below that age, the benefit is reduced but 62 is the earliest one can actually draw the benefit. My retirement age (I was born in 1953) is 67. But I started drawing at age 70 because the benefit increased each year. If I had started earlier than 67 my earned benefit would have been reduced.

Notice in the mentioned thread that nobody is mentioning any age prior to 62, and the main focus is on delaying past "FRA" which is your normal retirement age according to SSA.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Tom_T
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by Tom_T »

You can stop working any time you want, of course, but claiming SS is another story. You can retire at 30 for all they care. :)

There are exceptions to the 62 rule, but that's for situations with widows caring for a child.
Last edited by Tom_T on Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
twh
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by twh »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm I'm considering retiring a little early at 59 or 60. I called the Social Security Administration today to ask how SSA benefits would work in that case (where I would claim the benefits at 62 or later). The customer service rep at the SSA told me you CANNOT claim SSA at all if you retire before 62. (they pretty much yelled this at me so this really was painful to hear!)

I was pretty certain what they told me isn't the case from what I've read on this site and other finance sites, but after asking them to confirm, the agent insisted this is the case. I tried to call my HR to ask, but of course they can't give any info on SSA.

Can someone please give any guidance on this? Is it true that you can't get ANY social security benefits EVER if you retire before 62 years of age? I realize I wouldn't be able to claim SSA benefits before 62 years of age, but the agent swore you simply cannot ever get SSA benefits if you retire before 62 - in other words, doing so would throw all your SSA benefits out the window!

I'm hoping the customer service rep was just very mistaken. I want to call SSA again and talk to someone else, but the 2 hour wait and being yelled at by their agents is something I'd like to avoid if possible. :happy
The SS agent was wrong or you misunderstood the SS agent.

Assuming you have 40 quarters of SS Credits (i.e. you worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years), you can get SS at age 62. Of course, you'll get more than later you wait up until age 70, when you don't get more waiting longer.

Create an account at ssa.gov and it will tell you what you need to know. There are also some free calculators -- you can find some of them surfing around this site.
jebmke
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by jebmke »

twh wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:31 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm I'm considering retiring a little early at 59 or 60. I called the Social Security Administration today to ask how SSA benefits would work in that case (where I would claim the benefits at 62 or later). The customer service rep at the SSA told me you CANNOT claim SSA at all if you retire before 62. (they pretty much yelled this at me so this really was painful to hear!)

I was pretty certain what they told me isn't the case from what I've read on this site and other finance sites, but after asking them to confirm, the agent insisted this is the case. I tried to call my HR to ask, but of course they can't give any info on SSA.

Can someone please give any guidance on this? Is it true that you can't get ANY social security benefits EVER if you retire before 62 years of age? I realize I wouldn't be able to claim SSA benefits before 62 years of age, but the agent swore you simply cannot ever get SSA benefits if you retire before 62 - in other words, doing so would throw all your SSA benefits out the window!

I'm hoping the customer service rep was just very mistaken. I want to call SSA again and talk to someone else, but the 2 hour wait and being yelled at by their agents is something I'd like to avoid if possible. :happy
The SS agent was wrong or you misunderstood the SS agent.

Assuming you have 40 quarters of SS Credits (i.e. you worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years), you can get SS at age 62. Of course, you'll get more than later you wait up until age 70, when you don't get more waiting longer.

Create an account at ssa.gov and it will tell you what you need to know. There are also some free calculators -- you can find some of them surfing around this site.
In this case, I think you misunderstand the OP

correction. of course, the SSA doesn't care when you retire. But in their nomenclature when they hear "retire" they think "draw SS benefits." The two parties were talking cross purposes here.
Last edited by jebmke on Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:29 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:25 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm They are correct
Really? Wow. But how do you explain posts like this viewtopic.php?t=382542
where people are saying it doesn't matter when you retire re. claiming SSA?
Everyone, depending on birth data has a "retirement age" according to SSA; below that age, the benefit is reduced but 62 is the earliest one can actually draw the benefit. My retirement age (I was born in 1953) is 67. But I started drawing at age 70 because the benefit increased each year. If I had started earlier than 67 my earned benefit would have been reduced.

Notice in the mentioned thread that nobody is mentioning any age prior to 62, and the main focus is on delaying past "FRA" which is your normal retirement age according to SSA.
Thanks. I did tell the agent that I would be retiring at 59 but not "claiming" SSA benefits until 62 but she yelled at me that I could NEVER get any SSA benefits if I don't wait to retire until 62. That's what I was freaking out about :happy
OnTrack2020
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by OnTrack2020 »

Here, this is SSA website. The question is answered in the first sentence.

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement ... 20increase.
twh
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by twh »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:34 pm
twh wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:31 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm I'm considering retiring a little early at 59 or 60. I called the Social Security Administration today to ask how SSA benefits would work in that case (where I would claim the benefits at 62 or later). The customer service rep at the SSA told me you CANNOT claim SSA at all if you retire before 62. (they pretty much yelled this at me so this really was painful to hear!)

I was pretty certain what they told me isn't the case from what I've read on this site and other finance sites, but after asking them to confirm, the agent insisted this is the case. I tried to call my HR to ask, but of course they can't give any info on SSA.

Can someone please give any guidance on this? Is it true that you can't get ANY social security benefits EVER if you retire before 62 years of age? I realize I wouldn't be able to claim SSA benefits before 62 years of age, but the agent swore you simply cannot ever get SSA benefits if you retire before 62 - in other words, doing so would throw all your SSA benefits out the window!

I'm hoping the customer service rep was just very mistaken. I want to call SSA again and talk to someone else, but the 2 hour wait and being yelled at by their agents is something I'd like to avoid if possible. :happy
The SS agent was wrong or you misunderstood the SS agent.

Assuming you have 40 quarters of SS Credits (i.e. you worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years), you can get SS at age 62. Of course, you'll get more than later you wait up until age 70, when you don't get more waiting longer.

Create an account at ssa.gov and it will tell you what you need to know. There are also some free calculators -- you can find some of them surfing around this site.
In this case, I think you misunderstand the OP
What part didn't I understand?
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:29 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:25 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm They are correct
Really? Wow. But how do you explain posts like this viewtopic.php?t=382542
where people are saying it doesn't matter when you retire re. claiming SSA?
Everyone, depending on birth data has a "retirement age" according to SSA; below that age, the benefit is reduced but 62 is the earliest one can actually draw the benefit. My retirement age (I was born in 1953) is 67. But I started drawing at age 70 because the benefit increased each year. If I had started earlier than 67 my earned benefit would have been reduced.

Notice in the mentioned thread that nobody is mentioning any age prior to 62, and the main focus is on delaying past "FRA" which is your normal retirement age according to SSA.
So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits? I get that they would be reduced if I retire before 59 but will I be eligible for ANY SSA benefits if I retire before 62? That's what I'm still not clear on.
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mrmass
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by mrmass »

Retire is just another word for quitting work. So you quit at 59 then you can start collecting Social Security at 62.
OnTrack2020
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by OnTrack2020 »

You can retire whenever you want. My husband left the workforce at age 60. But, he would not be able to claim SS benefits until he turned 62. He will be 64 soon, and we are just now thinking about taking SS.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:36 pm Here, this is SSA website. The question is answered in the first sentence.

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement ... 20increase.
I read that statement several times over but they avoid stating that you can actually retire earlier than 62 and still at some point in your life claim those SSA benefits. The agent I talked to said, no, if you retire any time prior to 62, you can absolutely never claim SSA benefits - not at reduced amount or any amount - in other words, if you retire prior to 62, you will never ever get any SSA benefits. That is what the agent claimed and what I'm not sure about.

I understand I can't claim them until 62 or later and they would be reduced if before 67, etc but can I ever get SSA benefits if I retire prior to 62?
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:41 pm You can retire whenever you want. My husband left the workforce at age 60. But, he would not be able to claim SS benefits until he turned 62. He will be 64 soon, and we are just now thinking about taking SS.
Thanks! This is what I was hoping to hear. I wish the SSA would put this info in writing. I feel nervous with there not being any written info about this on their site but it helps to hear info like this! :happy
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

mrmass wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:39 pm Retire is just another word for quitting work. So you quit at 59 then you can start collecting Social Security at 62.
Thanks!
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mhc
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by mhc »

OP,

I assume you are only referring to the OA part of SS (also known as OASDI). You can claim the S and DI before 62 but not the OA.
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mhc
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by mhc »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:43 pm
OnTrack2020 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:41 pm You can retire whenever you want. My husband left the workforce at age 60. But, he would not be able to claim SS benefits until he turned 62. He will be 64 soon, and we are just now thinking about taking SS.
Thanks! This is what I was hoping to hear. I wish the SSA would put this info in writing. I feel nervous with there not being any written info about this on their site but it helps to hear info like this! :happy
It is all in writing. You just need to look around a little more.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

mhc wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:44 pm OP,

I assume you are only referring to the OA part of SS (also known as OASDI). You can claim the S and DI before 62 but not the OA.
No, I looked that term up and it looks like it's Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program - that's not what I was referring to.
livesoft
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by livesoft »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits? I get that they would be reduced if I retire before 59 but will I be eligible for ANY SSA benefits if I retire before 62? That's what I'm still not clear on.
One also must have paid into SS for long enough in order to get benefits. It is possible that in your situation your started contributing to SS when you were 52 years old (I made that up since you did not say). If you retire at age 59 or 60, then you would have not met the 40 quarters requirement. And in this case a quarter is not a US 25 cent coin with George Washington on it. But if you continued to work until age 62, then you might have 40 quarters of contributions.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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twh
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by twh »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits? I get that they would be reduced if I retire before 59 but will I be eligible for ANY SSA benefits if I retire before 62? That's what I'm still not clear on.
Yes..."[you] can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62".

You can stop working at 59 and start collecting SS at 62 (as long as you worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years).

Make an online account at ssa.gov and it will tell you what you will get at the various ages...62, FRA (full retirement age), waiting until 70.
PaunchyPirate
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by PaunchyPirate »

I'll be curious to see how jebmke was interpreting what the OP was asking.

OP, you can quit work prior to age 62 and, as long as you have worked the qualifying time period during your lifetime, you can indeed collect a SS benefit anytime after your 62nd birthday. The longer you wait after age 62, the bigger that benefit will be.

I quit work at age 56 after working many, many years. I can start getting my SS benefit at age 62 if I want. I currently plan on taking it at 67, which is my Full Retirement Age (by SSA definition).
Last edited by PaunchyPirate on Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rob
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by rob »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:41 pm
OnTrack2020 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:36 pm Here, this is SSA website. The question is answered in the first sentence.

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement ... 20increase.
I read that statement several times over but they avoid stating that you can actually retire earlier than 62 and still at some point in your life claim those SSA benefits. The agent I talked to said, no, if you retire any time prior to 62, you can absolutely never claim SSA benefits - not at reduced amount or any amount - in other words, if you retire prior to 62, you will never ever get any SSA benefits. That is what the agent claimed and what I'm not sure about.

I understand I can't claim them until 62 or later and they would be reduced if before 67, etc but can I ever get SSA benefits if I retire prior to 62?
So don't "retire"... just be un-employed :D Not sure of the disconnect but retire when you like but no SS money until 62 or later - assuming you have the credits.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

livesoft wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:46 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits? I get that they would be reduced if I retire before 59 but will I be eligible for ANY SSA benefits if I retire before 62? That's what I'm still not clear on.
One also must have paid into SS for long enough in order to get benefits. It is possible that in your situation your started contributing to SS when you were 52 years old (I made that up since you did not say). If you retire at age 59 or 60, then you would have not met the 40 quarters requirement. And in this case a quarter is not a US 25 cent coin with George Washington on it. But if you continued to work until age 62, then you might have 40 quarters of contributions.
Thanks! I've been contributing since I was 16 so should be good. :D
Asyouwish
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by Asyouwish »

Social Security has no idea when you retire, quit, get fired, get laid off, etc. You can quit, retire, whatever at 49 years old if you want and live off savings until age 62.

If you meet the requirements, at age 62 (this is the earliest age) you can apply for benefits. They have your earnings history. So they know if you qualify or not.

My husband lost his job at 59 1/2. He waited until age 66 to apply. He had no problems.
Topic Author
cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

twh wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:46 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits? I get that they would be reduced if I retire before 59 but will I be eligible for ANY SSA benefits if I retire before 62? That's what I'm still not clear on.
Yes..."[you] can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62".

You can stop working at 59 and start collecting SS at 62 (as long as you worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years).

Make an online account at ssa.gov and it will tell you what you will get at the various ages...62, FRA (full retirement age), waiting until 70.
Thanks! I have an account and everything was good until I called SSA to ask an agent about something and their incorrect info stopped me in my tracks. I'm grateful for this site!
OnTrack2020
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by OnTrack2020 »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:29 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:25 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm They are correct
Really? Wow. But how do you explain posts like this viewtopic.php?t=382542
where people are saying it doesn't matter when you retire re. claiming SSA?
Everyone, depending on birth data has a "retirement age" according to SSA; below that age, the benefit is reduced but 62 is the earliest one can actually draw the benefit. My retirement age (I was born in 1953) is 67. But I started drawing at age 70 because the benefit increased each year. If I had started earlier than 67 my earned benefit would have been reduced.

Notice in the mentioned thread that nobody is mentioning any age prior to 62, and the main focus is on delaying past "FRA" which is your normal retirement age according to SSA.
So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits? I get that they would be reduced if I retire before 59 but will I be eligible for ANY SSA benefits if I retire before 62? That's what I'm still not clear on.
Yes, you can retire at 59.
Yes, you will get SS benefits starting at 62 if you file a claim for them. I believe you start the process 3 months prior to turning age 62, but someone else should clarify that.
Your benefits will be reduced if you retire prior to your FRA (fixed retirement age) which is in the range of 66-67 (somewhere in there).
You are not eligible for SS benefits at age 59, 60, or 61, or any other age prior to age 62.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

Asyouwish wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:49 pm Social Security has no idea when you retire, quit, get fired, get laid off, etc. You can quit, retire, whatever at 49 years old if you want and live off savings until age 62.

If you meet the requirements, at age 62 (this is the earliest age) you can apply for benefits. They have your earnings history. So they know if you qualify or not.

My husband lost his job at 59 1/2. He waited until age 66 to apply. He had no problems.
Thanks!
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

PaunchyPirate wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:47 pm I'll be curious to see how jebmke was interpreting what the OP was asking.

OP, you can quit work prior to age 62 and, as long as you have worked the qualifying time period during your lifetime, you can indeed collect a SS benefit anytime after your 62nd birthday. The longer you wait after age 62, the bigger that benefit will be.

I quit work at age 56 after working many, many years. I can start getting my SS benefit at age 62 if I want. I currently plan on taking it at 67, which is my Full Retirement Age (by SSA definition).
Thank you!
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by jebmke »

twh wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:37 pm
jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:34 pm
twh wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:31 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:20 pm I'm considering retiring a little early at 59 or 60. I called the Social Security Administration today to ask how SSA benefits would work in that case (where I would claim the benefits at 62 or later). The customer service rep at the SSA told me you CANNOT claim SSA at all if you retire before 62. (they pretty much yelled this at me so this really was painful to hear!)

I was pretty certain what they told me isn't the case from what I've read on this site and other finance sites, but after asking them to confirm, the agent insisted this is the case. I tried to call my HR to ask, but of course they can't give any info on SSA.

Can someone please give any guidance on this? Is it true that you can't get ANY social security benefits EVER if you retire before 62 years of age? I realize I wouldn't be able to claim SSA benefits before 62 years of age, but the agent swore you simply cannot ever get SSA benefits if you retire before 62 - in other words, doing so would throw all your SSA benefits out the window!

I'm hoping the customer service rep was just very mistaken. I want to call SSA again and talk to someone else, but the 2 hour wait and being yelled at by their agents is something I'd like to avoid if possible. :happy
The SS agent was wrong or you misunderstood the SS agent.

Assuming you have 40 quarters of SS Credits (i.e. you worked and paid taxes for at least 10 years), you can get SS at age 62. Of course, you'll get more than later you wait up until age 70, when you don't get more waiting longer.

Create an account at ssa.gov and it will tell you what you need to know. There are also some free calculators -- you can find some of them surfing around this site.
In this case, I think you misunderstand the OP
What part didn't I understand?
see my correction above; you are correct.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
terran
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by terran »

As seems to have been sorted out by now, you can claim a social security benefit anytime between age 62-70 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of eligible earnings (10 years for most full time employed people). Your highest 35 earning years after adjusting for average wages (sort of an inflation adjustment) will be calculated when determining how much you receive, so if you have fewer than 35 years or some of those years you earned less than you do now then you get a lower benefit than if you keep working until you start collecting, but you will still get a benefit.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

terran wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:01 pm As seems to have been sorted out by now, you can claim a social security benefit anytime between age 62-70 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of eligible earnings (10 years for most full time employed people). Your highest 35 earning years after adjusting for average wages (sort of an inflation adjustment) will be calculated when determining how much you receive, so if you have fewer than 35 years or some of those years you earned less than you do now then you get a lower benefit than if you keep working until you start collecting, but you will still get a benefit.
Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
twh
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by twh »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:05 pm
terran wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:01 pm As seems to have been sorted out by now, you can claim a social security benefit anytime between age 62-70 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of eligible earnings (10 years for most full time employed people). Your highest 35 earning years after adjusting for average wages (sort of an inflation adjustment) will be calculated when determining how much you receive, so if you have fewer than 35 years or some of those years you earned less than you do now then you get a lower benefit than if you keep working until you start collecting, but you will still get a benefit.
Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
Ok, that is an "it depends" question. Some of the tools might help you model that.
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Watty
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by Watty »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits?
I retired when I was 58 and I started my Social Security when I was 66.

Be sure to mention if you some special situation like a disability, survivors benefit if you are widowed, will be living overseas, etc. What was said in your original post was so wrong that it almost seems like there must be something else going on.

Even though you can start SS at 62 it would be good to consider if you really should though. Starting it too early is a common mistake.

Be sure to see this web site to see when it suggests that you should start SS. That decision can get to be complex especially if you are married, widowed, or divorced.

https://opensocialsecurity.com/

Once you get your results if you scroll to the bottom it will also let you compare that to an alternate date and show you a color graph of various start dates.

That website is great but it does not try to take taxes into account or things like you may need to keep your income low before you turn 65 so that you can get an affordable care act healthcare subsidy. A lot of people will also try to do Roth conversions in a low tax bracket before they start Social Security.

Also be sure to understand how Social Security is taxed since that is complex and not intuitive. That can cause you to be in a higher than expected effective tax bracket but in some cases you can manage your income to minimize that.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Taxatio ... y_benefits
terran
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by terran »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:05 pm
terran wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:01 pm As seems to have been sorted out by now, you can claim a social security benefit anytime between age 62-70 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of eligible earnings (10 years for most full time employed people). Your highest 35 earning years after adjusting for average wages (sort of an inflation adjustment) will be calculated when determining how much you receive, so if you have fewer than 35 years or some of those years you earned less than you do now then you get a lower benefit than if you keep working until you start collecting, but you will still get a benefit.
Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
Yes, it's pretty likely that it will reduce it. If you create an account at https://www.ssa.gov/ you should find a "Plan For Retirement" calculator/graph where you can select a social security collection/retirement age and enter your expected future earnings, so if you're 59 now that should work to tell you what your benefit will be at whatever collection age you select.

If you're not yet 59 then the calculation isn't that hard, but it is a little tedious, so I can describe that if you like. You'll need your full earnings record which you can also found at that site.
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Watty
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by Watty »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:05 pm Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
Your Social Security benefit is calculated on your 35 highest years of inflation adjusted earnings history.

If you were something like a stay at home parent for a long time then is possible that you would have some zeros in the calculations for some of those 35 years. Working a few more years would fill in those zero years and increase your benefit calculation a little bit.

Likewise if you are earning more now(adjusted for inflation) than you were in your 20s then working another year can improve one of those numbers.

When you are getting your benefit estimate off of the SS website you can change the default for when you stop working. Otherwise it will assume that you will keep working at your last years income level.

It will vary a lot but when I was getting ready to retire I found that working another year would have increased my monthly SS at my full retirement age by about $8 a month.

The calculation for figuring out your SS benefit amount is mind numbingly complex and involves things like "bend points" but once you have a full 35 years of good earnings history working another year will not make much difference in your benefit amount.
Last edited by Watty on Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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mrmass
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by mrmass »

I get it now you want to stop working (quit) and since you won’t be contributing to social security anymore you want to see how that impacts your amount come the time you want to collect.

The social security website will help you with that.
mptfan
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by mptfan »

1) You can retire or quit working anytime you want.

2) You cannot start receiving social security retirement benefits before age 62.

3) You must have at least 40 quarters (10 years) of social security contributions (credits) in order to qualify for social security retirement benefits on your own record. (It's possible to qualify on someone else's record, for example as a spouse)

4) If you have the required credits then you can start collecting social security retirement benefits at any time after you turn 62.

All previous statements are correct and stand on their own.
Last edited by mptfan on Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

twh wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:10 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:05 pm
terran wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:01 pm As seems to have been sorted out by now, you can claim a social security benefit anytime between age 62-70 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of eligible earnings (10 years for most full time employed people). Your highest 35 earning years after adjusting for average wages (sort of an inflation adjustment) will be calculated when determining how much you receive, so if you have fewer than 35 years or some of those years you earned less than you do now then you get a lower benefit than if you keep working until you start collecting, but you will still get a benefit.
Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
Ok, that is an "it depends" question. Some of the tools might help you model that.
Thanks! I'll look into those tools on the SSA site.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

Watty wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:11 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:38 pm So just to clarify, in theory, I can retire at 59 but claim SSA benefits at 62? Or is it really true that I must not retire until 62 if I want to get any SSA benefits?
I retired when I was 58 and I started my Social Security when I was 66.

Be sure to mention if you some special situation like a disability, survivors benefit if you are widowed, will be living overseas, etc. What was said in your original post was so wrong that it almost seems like there must be something else going on.

Even though you can start SS at 62 it would be good to consider if you really should though. Starting it too early is a common mistake.

Be sure to see this web site to see when it suggests that you should start SS. That decision can get to be complex especially if you are married, widowed, or divorced.

https://opensocialsecurity.com/

Once you get your results if you scroll to the bottom it will also let you compare that to an alternate date and show you a color graph of various start dates.

That website is great but it does not try to take taxes into account or things like you may need to keep your income low before you turn 65 so that you can get an affordable care act healthcare subsidy. A lot of people will also try to do Roth conversions in a low tax bracket before they start Social Security.

Also be sure to understand how Social Security is taxed since that is complex and not intuitive. That can cause you to be in a higher than expected effective tax bracket but in some cases you can manage your income to minimize that.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Taxatio ... y_benefits
This is very helpful! Thanks!
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

Watty wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:32 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:05 pm Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
Your Social Security benefit is calculated on your 35 highest years of inflation adjusted earnings history.

If you were something like a stay at home parent for a long time then is possible that you would have some zeros in the calculations for some of those 35 years. Working a few more years would fill in those zero years and increase your benefit calculation a little bit.

Likewise if you are earning more now(adjusted for inflation) than you were in your 20s then working another year can improve one of those numbers.

When you are getting your benefit estimate off of the SS website you can change the default for when you stop working. Otherwise it will assume that you will keep working at your last years income level.

It will vary a lot but when I was getting ready to retire I found that working another year would have increased my monthly SS at my full retirement age by about $8 a month.

The calculation for figuring out your SS benefit amount is mind numbingly complex and involves things like "bend points" but once you have a full 35 years of good earnings history working another year will not make much difference in your benefit amount.
This is very helpful! Thanks! Good to hear those few years don't make much difference!
H-Town
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by H-Town »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:05 pm
terran wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 3:01 pm As seems to have been sorted out by now, you can claim a social security benefit anytime between age 62-70 as long as you have at least 40 quarters of eligible earnings (10 years for most full time employed people). Your highest 35 earning years after adjusting for average wages (sort of an inflation adjustment) will be calculated when determining how much you receive, so if you have fewer than 35 years or some of those years you earned less than you do now then you get a lower benefit than if you keep working until you start collecting, but you will still get a benefit.
Thanks! My main question when calling SSA was to ask if I retired at 59, would that reduce the amount I can receive compared to the estimate it shows for the age of 62 - do you know how you would calculate that? I'm assuming retiring at 59 versus 62 would affect the total amount of SSA I can claim - is that correct?

Of course, I realize I would still not "claim" the SSA benefits until after 62, but don't know if retiring prior to 62 years of age affects how much I would get or how to calculate that.
Here is the tool that you can calculate that: https://ssa.tools/calculator.html

The SSA agent and you probably have 2 definitions of the word "retire". To SSA agent, retire means drawing SS benefit. To you (and most of us here), retire means you call your boss and give 2 weeks notice.

If and when you call SSA again, tell them what you mean, and tell them not to yell at you.
Time is the ultimate currency.
vested1
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by vested1 »

As stated earlier, it was a matter of semantics that caused this confusion. The word "retire" means something entirely different to the SSA, which they interpret as the beginning of your benefits. Never use that word when speaking to an agent of Social Security, because they don't care when you stopped working.

The calculator at anypia allows you to input zeros in future years where you will have no earned income prior to claiming your benefit, which will give you a more accurate estimate, but still only a estimate of what you can expect to receive at certain dates.

https://www.ssa.gov/oact/anypia/anypia.html

The reason it won't be dead on accurate is due to several factors, the most meaningful of which is that they have no idea what the COLA will be for upcoming years.
little_star
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by little_star »

Your Social Security benefits are based on the average of your 35 highest earning years (and you are only eligible if you have at least 40 quarters of credit). If you stop working (retire), those subsequent years will have zero earnings. Whether or not that will have a significant impact on your SS benefits depends on your earning history. For example, I have multiple years of zero (or exceedingly low) earnings due to being in school and working internationally. Thus, although I have worked for more than 35 years, I am still increasing my expected benefits by continuing to work. At the same time, once I crossed into the second bend-point, my expected benefits are only increasing by 1.5-2.0 percent per year. As soon as I have 35 years of good US wages, it will not make much of a difference in SS benefits if I keep working. So, you will need to consider your wage history to determine if retiring (stop working) at 59 will have a significant impact on your expected SS benefits.

A separate issue is when to claim the SS benefits. Delaying until 70 will yield the highest monthly benefit for your particular earnings history.
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pahkcah
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by pahkcah »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:29 pm Everyone, depending on birth data has a "retirement age" according to SSA; below that age, the benefit is reduced but 62 is the earliest one can actually draw the benefit. My retirement age (I was born in 1953) is 67. But I started drawing at age 70 because the benefit increased each year. If I had started earlier than 67 my earned benefit would have been reduced.
The Full Retirement Age (FRA) for anyone born between 1943 and 1954 is 66. If you were born in 1953 (same as me), your FRA was 66, not 67.
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

vested1 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:00 pm As stated earlier, it was a matter of semantics that caused this confusion. The word "retire" means something entirely different to the SSA, which they interpret as the beginning of your benefits. Never use that word when speaking to an agent of Social Security, because they don't care when you stopped working.

The calculator at anypia allows you to input zeros in future years where you will have no earned income prior to claiming your benefit, which will give you a more accurate estimate, but still only a estimate of what you can expect to receive at certain dates.

https://www.ssa.gov/oact/anypia/anypia.html

The reason it won't be dead on accurate is due to several factors, the most meaningful of which is that they have no idea what the COLA will be for upcoming years.
Cool - thanks for the calculator link! This is just what I'm looking for. Good to know about the semantics when talking with SSA agents!
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

little_star wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:36 pm Your Social Security benefits are based on the average of your 35 highest earning years (and you are only eligible if you have at least 40 quarters of credit). If you stop working (retire), those subsequent years will have zero earnings. Whether or not that will have a significant impact on your SS benefits depends on your earning history. For example, I have multiple years of zero (or exceedingly low) earnings due to being in school and working internationally. Thus, although I have worked for more than 35 years, I am still increasing my expected benefits by continuing to work. At the same time, once I crossed into the second bend-point, my expected benefits are only increasing by 1.5-2.0 percent per year. As soon as I have 35 years of good US wages, it will not make much of a difference in SS benefits if I keep working. So, you will need to consider your wage history to determine if retiring (stop working) at 59 will have a significant impact on your expected SS benefits.

A separate issue is when to claim the SS benefits. Delaying until 70 will yield the highest monthly benefit for your particular earnings history.
This is helpful - thanks! My earning history has been good for the most part, except for about 10 years after college where I didn't earn as much as later, so hopefully that doesn't impact me too much. I'm 51 years old now. When you say "40 quarters of credit" - does that mean years? On my Earnings Record that I got from the SSA site, it lists earnings by year. I will have 40 years of earnings by 2027.
Silk McCue
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by Silk McCue »

cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:39 pm
little_star wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:36 pm Your Social Security benefits are based on the average of your 35 highest earning years (and you are only eligible if you have at least 40 quarters of credit). If you stop working (retire), those subsequent years will have zero earnings. Whether or not that will have a significant impact on your SS benefits depends on your earning history. For example, I have multiple years of zero (or exceedingly low) earnings due to being in school and working internationally. Thus, although I have worked for more than 35 years, I am still increasing my expected benefits by continuing to work. At the same time, once I crossed into the second bend-point, my expected benefits are only increasing by 1.5-2.0 percent per year. As soon as I have 35 years of good US wages, it will not make much of a difference in SS benefits if I keep working. So, you will need to consider your wage history to determine if retiring (stop working) at 59 will have a significant impact on your expected SS benefits.

A separate issue is when to claim the SS benefits. Delaying until 70 will yield the highest monthly benefit for your particular earnings history.
This is helpful - thanks! My earning history has been good for the most part, except for about 10 years after college where I didn't earn as much as later, so hopefully that doesn't impact me too much. I'm 51 years old now. When you say "40 quarters of credit" - does that mean years? On my Earnings Record that I got from the SSA site, it lists earnings by year. I will have 40 years of earnings by 2027.
A quarter is not a year. There are 4 quarters in a year. 40 quarters is 10 years.

Cheers
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cmc89585
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by cmc89585 »

Silk McCue wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:03 pm
cmc89585 wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:39 pm
little_star wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:36 pm Your Social Security benefits are based on the average of your 35 highest earning years (and you are only eligible if you have at least 40 quarters of credit). If you stop working (retire), those subsequent years will have zero earnings. Whether or not that will have a significant impact on your SS benefits depends on your earning history. For example, I have multiple years of zero (or exceedingly low) earnings due to being in school and working internationally. Thus, although I have worked for more than 35 years, I am still increasing my expected benefits by continuing to work. At the same time, once I crossed into the second bend-point, my expected benefits are only increasing by 1.5-2.0 percent per year. As soon as I have 35 years of good US wages, it will not make much of a difference in SS benefits if I keep working. So, you will need to consider your wage history to determine if retiring (stop working) at 59 will have a significant impact on your expected SS benefits.

A separate issue is when to claim the SS benefits. Delaying until 70 will yield the highest monthly benefit for your particular earnings history.
This is helpful - thanks! My earning history has been good for the most part, except for about 10 years after college where I didn't earn as much as later, so hopefully that doesn't impact me too much. I'm 51 years old now. When you say "40 quarters of credit" - does that mean years? On my Earnings Record that I got from the SSA site, it lists earnings by year. I will have 40 years of earnings by 2027.
A quarter is not a year. There are 4 quarters in a year. 40 quarters is 10 years.

Cheers
Haha - good point! I can't get the SSA calculator to work - maybe I'll start a thread on that. :confused
capran
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Re: SSA and Early Retirement

Post by capran »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:23 pm They are correct
Really? You are saying if you stop working before age 62 you can't get SS when you turn 62? I am under the impression that if you have worked the required number of quarters, your benefit will be based on that work and earnings record. To support that argument I would say that my spouse worked for her entire life after college (and part time summer jobs in college). At 59.5 she retired with a school pension since she had 30 years of service. Every year she logs onto her Social Security and see's what her benefits will be when she begins taking her SS. (currently planning for age 70).

The OP seems to be saying he was told if he quits before 62 he will never get a SS benefit. It is true he can not get a benefit before age 62, but if he has the required quarters, he should be able to get a benefit when he turns 62 IMHO.
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