The following chart illustrates how the age you begin receiving benefits can greatly affect the amount of income you receive from Social Security every month. The chart assumes a full retirement age of 66, and a base benefit at full retirement age of $2,000 (which is nearly the maximum Social Security benefit an individual can receive).
In this hypothetical example (your individual situation will be different), the Social Security benefit available at age 62 is $1,500, which is 25% less than the $2,000 monthly benefit available at full retirement age. But at age 70, the benefit available is $2,640, which is 32% more than the monthly benefit available at full retirement age, due to delayed retirement credits. Keep in mind, too, that other factors, including post-retirement earnings and cost-of-living increases, can also affect your monthly benefit check.
You can explore various retirement benefit scenarios using the calculators available at the Social Security Administration’s website.