Q: I was told that if you retire at 62, you have to be 62 plus one month of age before you are eligible to collect Social Security retirement. Is this true?
A: This is along the correct path but wanders a bit from full accuracy. A more accurate way of stating this is that a person must be at least age 62 through the entire month to receive benefits for that month.
A person reaching age 62 during a month is not usually at least age 62 for the entire month so benefits can first be received starting for the next month. This applies only in the actual month a person reaches age 62. For all following months they are at least age 62 all month.
However, based on actual day of birth in a month, Social Security retirement might be payable for the month a person reaches age 62. A person born on the first of the month is considered age 62 for that entire month and could start benefits effective with the month they reach age 62.
For example, a person born on February 20 is not age 62 for the full month until March. A person born on February 1 is considered age 62 for the entire month and can receive a benefit for February.
Why is this? Legal precedent holds that people attain their age on the day before their birthday. Therefore, a person born on the first of a month is considered age 62 for the entire month.
On a related topic, Social Security benefits for a month are paid in the following month. For example, payment for March is received in April.
The Social Security Retirement Planner, www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/, has lots of information and calculators to help you plan your benefits. Today’s topic is on the “Find Your Retirement Age” page.