Here's the Average Social Security Benefit for Retirees at Ages 62, 66, and 70

When to claim Social Security is one of the most important financial decisions people make during their lives, because benefits are often the largest source of income in retirement. Unfortunately, many Americans make the decision based on misinformation and without fully understanding the consequences.

For instance, the Social Security trust fund may be depleted in the next decade, which would lead to benefit cuts. But the Social Security program itself is not at risk of bankruptcy, nor are benefits at risk of being discontinued. Social Security is primarily funded by payroll taxes, so benefit payments will continue for as long as Americans have jobs.

Yet, a recent survey from Schroders found that just 10% of non-retired Americans plan to delay Social Security until age 70, the age at which their benefit would be largest. The most common reason for that decision was concern that Social Security will run out of money. However, as I just explained, that outcome is impossible because Social Security is mostly funded by taxes.

Americans should understand how claiming age affects benefits before filing for Social Security. Read on to see the average retired-worker benefit at different ages.

A person holding fanned out U.S. currency.
A person holding fanned out U.S. currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

Here's the average Social Security benefit for retirees at different ages

The Social Security Administration (SSA) periodically publishes anonymized benefit data to improve public understanding and promote transparency.

The table below contains information from a biannual SSA report that was last updated in December 2023. It details the average Social Security benefit paid monthly to retired workers between ages 62 and 70.


Average Social Security Benefit (Retired Workers)



















Data source: Social Security Administration. Note: Payments have been rounded to the nearest dollar.

Readers should pay attention to the average Social Security benefit at ages 62, 66, and 70. Those three groups cover the spectrum of possible outcomes: 62 is the youngest possible claiming age, 70 is the oldest sensible claiming age, and 66 provides a data point in the middle.

  • The average retired-worker benefit at age 66 is $1,740 per month, which is $442 higher than the average benefit at age 62.

  • The average retired-worker benefit at age 70 is $2,038 per month, which is $740 higher than the average benefit at age 62.

Social Security benefits depend on several variables. But all else being equal, retired workers receive their smallest possible benefit if they claim at age 62, and they receive their biggest possible benefit if they claim at age 70.

How Social Security benefits for retired workers are calculated

Social Security benefits depend on lifetime earnings and claiming age. The calculation is a two-step process. The first step is determining the primary insurance amount (PIA), and the second step is adjusting the PIA for early or delayed retirement.

  • Step 1: A formula is applied to the income (indexed to adjust for inflation) from the 35 highest-paid years of a retired worker's career to find their PIA. The PIA is the benefit a worker will receive if they claim Social Security at full retirement age (FRA).

  • Step 2: Workers who claim Social Security before FRA get less than 100% of their PIA. Workers that claim Social Security after FRA get more than 100% of their PIA. The only conditions are that 1) the age of eligibility is 62, so no one can claim earlier, and 2) delayed retirement credits stop at age 70, so it never makes sense to claim later.

The chart below shows how birth year relates to FRA. It also shows the benefit (as a portion of PIA) a retired worker would get by claiming Social Security at ages 62 and 70. In other words, the chart shows the smallest and biggest payouts for all FRA groups.

Birth Year

Full Retirement Age

Benefit at Age 62

Benefit at Age 70






66 and 2 months




66 and 4 months




66 and 6 months




66 and 8 months




66 and 10 months



1960 and later




Data source: The Social Security Administration.

As shown above, workers can substantially increase their Social Security payout by delaying benefits until age 70.

Consider a hypothetical worker born in 1960, with a PIA of $1,500. That worker will receive $1,500 per month ($18,000 per year) in benefits if they claim Social Security at FRA, which is 67. However, the payout will be $1,050 per month ($12,600 per year) if they claim at age 62. Alternatively, the payout will be $1,860 per month ($22,320 per year) if they claim at age 70.

Importantly, the dollar total will vary from person to person based on differences in PIA, but the percentage will remain constant. In other words, retired workers born in 1960 or later can increase their benefit by 77% (i.e., $1,860 divided by $1,050) by claiming Social Security at age 70 rather than at age 62.

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