5 reasons to be thankful for Social Security | personal financing

3. Get flexibility about when you can file for Social Security that looks after spouses or ex-spouses who never worked and instead stayed home to raise a family (or dropped out of the work force for some other reason). If you are married or married to someone who qualifies for Social Security, you may be entitled to a spousal benefit equal to 50% of what your current or former spouse receives each month.

But you are allowed to claim Social Security as early as age 62, if you choose. For each month you apply for benefits prior to the FRA, those benefits will be reduced. But you still have the option of getting your money back sooner. That could mean enrolling once you qualify, or applying for benefits at age 65 in conjunction with enrolling in Medicare.

You are entitled to full Social Security benefits based on your earnings history once you reach your full retirement age, or FRA. That age is 66, 67 or something in between, depending on when you were born.

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