Q: What is the earliest age that I can apply for my Social Security retirement benefits?
Answer: If you want benefits to begin at age 62 — the earliest age you can receive reduced retirement benefits — you must be at least 61 years and 9 months of age to apply. Keep in mind that if you retire before your full retirement age, your monthly benefit amount will be permanently reduced. On the flip side, if you delay your benefits until after your full retirement age, you’ll receive higher benefits because of delayed retirement credits. Even if you are not ready to retire, you should still sign up for Medicare three months before your 65th birthday. You can do both (and try out different retirement scenarios) online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.
Q: Does Social Security provide special services or information for people who are blind or visually impaired?
Answer: Yes. Social Security offers a number of services and products specifically designed for people who are blind or visually impaired.
Special Notice Option: If you are blind or visually impaired, you can choose to receive notices and other information from Social Security in ways that may be more convenient for you. To find out more about this service, go to our page, If You Are Blind Or Visually Impaired — Your Choices For Receiving Information from Social Security, at www.socialsecurity.gov/notices. In addition, if you have a question about a Social Security notice you receive, you may call our toll-free number, (800) 772-1213, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, or call or visit your local Social Security office and ask us to read it to you.
Public Information Materials: Many of our publications, such as brochures and fact sheets, are available in Braille, audio cassette tapes, compact disks, or in enlarged print. Our publication, “If You Are Blind Or Have Low Vision — How We Can Help,” and other publications in alternative formats can be obtained by calling the toll-free number. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our TTY number, (800) 325-0778.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.