Senior Policy Analyst
Some policymakers, including prominent presidential candidates, have endorsed raising Social Security’s full retirement age to improve the program’s long-term solvency. Raising the retirement age cuts benefits for all retirees, the cuts could be deep, and they would fall hardest on lower- and middle-income Americans — who rely heavily on their hard-earned Social Security and have not shared equally in recent life expectancy gains.
The full retirement age is the age at which retirees can receive full Social Security benefits. If you claim benefits before full retirement age, you receive permanently reduced monthly benefits; if you claim them after, you get a permanent increase. The full retirement age was 65 for most of Social Security’s history. The last major Social Security overhaul, in 1983, gradually raised it to 66 (where it stands now) and will eventually raise it to 67, a change that effectively cuts benefits by 13 percent. There’s talk of moving the age further to 68, 69, or 70. Such a change would have significant effects.