Social Security Benefits – Starting Age 62 vs FRA

You can use this calculator to calculate the break-even point and the cumulative benefits for an individual taking his own Social Security retirement benefits beginning at age 62 versus beginning at his or her full retirement age (FRA). It is an estimate only, and should not be the only consideration when deciding when to begin social security benefits.

To open this calculator, click Calculators in the toolbar, and then click Retirement > Social Security Benefits - Starting Age 62 vs. FRA in the left panel.

You can export the data as a PDF file or clear all data that you entered. For more information, see Financial calculators.

Many factors can affect the decision to receive Social Security benefits, including health, personal financial considerations, and employment status. One method of assessing the financial advantage is to calculate the break-even age.

Taxpayers planning for retirement should be aware that retirement benefits depend on age at retirement. If a taxpayer begins receiving benefits before full retirement age, the taxpayer will receive a reduced benefit. A taxpayer can choose to retire as early as age 62. Starting to receive benefits after full retirement age may result in larger benefits.


Because of recent health issues, an individual wants to determine at what age to start receiving Social Security benefits.

Field Input
Date of birth 03/05/1954
Federal income tax rate during retirement 25.0%
Percentage of Social Security benefits subject to income tax 85.0%

In this example, the calculator identifies the break-even point for total Social Security received by (actual):

  • Years from age 62 to break-even point (14),
  • Year of break-even point (2030), or
  • Age at break-even (76).

Conclusion: If the individual lives past age 76, the individual would receive greater lifetime Social Security benefits by waiting until full retirement age to start receiving benefits.

Note: Break-even occurs at the age when the total Social Security income from two options is the same.

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