Surprisingly few Americans understand the benefits and trade-offs related to claiming Social Security at various ages. The top graphic illustrates these trade-offs for people whose Full Retirement Age (FRA) was age 66. The bottom graphic is for individuals turning 62 in 2022 or later whose FRA is 67. Delaying benefits results in a much higher benefit amount: Waiting to age 70 results in a 24-32% more in a benefit check than if they had claimed at their FRA. Likewise, taking benefits early will permanently lower the benefit amount. At age 62, beneficiaries would have received only 70-75% of what they would get if they waited until their FRA. The percentages shown are “real” amounts – cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) will be be applied over time, providing an even greater difference between the actual dollar benefits one would receive. While the COLA adjustment for 2022 benefits was 5.9%, the average annual COLA over the past 37 years has been 2.6%.