Conversely, you can claim as early as age 62, but taking benefits before your full retirement age will result in the Social Security Administration docking your monthly benefits.

The bottom line: You’re eligible for Social Security Benefits if you’ve paid into the system for at least a decade, but your actual benefits will depend on what age – between 62 and 70 – you begin to claim them.

Benefits also depend on how much money you’ve earned in life.

backdating social security retirement benefit-47

And regardless of whether you think Social Security’s future is secure, the fact remains that you shouldn’t plan on living exclusively off your Social Security benefits.

After all, Social Security wasn’t designed to make up a retiree’s entire income.

It’s a different story when it comes to disability benefits.” He then goes on to apply this general definition to a series of separate questions that help illustrate how the rule works in practice.

These days there’s a lot of doom and gloom about Social Security’s solvency - or lack thereof.

You can apply online for retirement benefits or benefits as a spouse if you: If you already have Medicare, you can still use this application to apply for retirement benefits.

If you don’t have Medicare but are within 3 months of age 65, you can use this application to apply for: If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) and/or health insurance based on current employment, contact your personnel office or insurance company to find out how signing up for Medicare will affect you.

That's why it’s important to know all the rules surrounding eligibility, benefit amounts, taxation and more.

Anyone who pays into Social Security for at least 40 calendar quarters (10 years) is eligible for retirement benefits based on their earnings record.

You are eligible for your full benefits once you reach full retirement age, which is either 66 and 67, depending on when you were born.

But if you claim later than that - you can put it off as late as age 70 - you’ll get a credit for doing so, with larger monthly benefits.

Social Security offers an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes. Better yet, you can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you.