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What is the least amount of Social Security you can get at age 62?

The decision of when to start taking Social Security benefits is a very personal one that depends on your unique situation. While many people opt to wait until their full retirement age or even age 70 to start benefits in order to receive a higher monthly amount, others may need to claim benefits as soon as possible at age 62. However, claiming Social Security at 62 does come with a reduced benefit amount compared to waiting. So what is the minimum Social Security benefit you can receive if you start at age 62?

The Minimum Social Security Benefit at Age 62

The absolute minimum Social Security benefit that a person can receive at age 62 in 2023 is $553 per month. This amount is for someone who has earned the minimum number of work credits needed to qualify for Social Security. You need at least 40 work credits (equal to 10 years of work) in order to be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.

Assuming you have at least 10 years of work history paying into Social Security, the lowest benefit amount at age 62 is still greater than zero. However, $553 per month is not very much money to live on. The average Social Security benefit for retired workers in 2022 is $1,665 per month. So the minimum benefit at age 62 is significantly lower than what the average beneficiary receives.

How the Minimum Benefit is Calculated

The Social Security Administration calculates your primary insurance amount (PIA) based on your average monthly earnings over your 35 highest earning years. Your benefit is a percentage of your PIA based on when you claim. At age 62, that percentage is 70-75% depending on your birth year.

For example, say your PIA is $1,000 per month if you waited until full retirement age to claim. If you were born in 1960 or later, your benefit at 62 would be 70% of your PIA, or $700 in this example. For earlier birth years, the percentage rises slightly.

The lowest PIA possible is $944 in 2023. Taking 70-75% of $944 results in a benefit between $553-$708 per month at age 62, depending on your birth year. So $553 is the absolute minimum for someone born in 1960 or later.

Requirements for the Minimum Benefit

To receive this $553 per month minimum, you would have to have very low lifetime earnings that result in the lowest PIA. Specifically:

  • You only have 10 years of work history with the minimum Social Security taxable earnings each year.
  • All of your earnings were at or near the taxable minimum, which can reduce your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME).
  • You had no earnings above the maximum taxable earnings cap that could boost your AIME.
  • You had no earnings during years outside of your top 35 earnings years.
  • You were born in 1960 or later so the age 62 reduction is 70% rather than 75%.

Essentially, you need the lowest possible lifetime earnings record in order to end up with a $553 monthly benefit at age 62.

Strategies to Increase Your Minimum Benefit

Very few Americans end up receiving the absolute minimum Social Security benefit. But if you are concerned about having low lifetime earnings and getting the minimum benefit, there are some strategies that could help increase your payments:

Work Longer Before Claiming

One of the best ways to raise your minimum Social Security benefit is to delay when you start benefits beyond age 62. For each year you wait to claim up until age 70, your benefit amount goes up by about 7-8% (after full retirement age, there are delayed retirement credits). So even just working part-time income for a few extra years can boost your benefit amount.

Earn More Before Claiming

Making an effort to increase your income in the years leading up to retirement can also help lift your minimum benefit. Working overtime, getting a side gig, or changing jobs to boost your earnings can all translate to a higher benefit later on. Even one or two higher earning years can bump up your average lifetime earnings.

Wait Until Full Retirement Age

You can also receive a higher minimum benefit by waiting beyond age 62 to claim, up until your full retirement age (66 or 67 depending on birth year). Your benefit will be lower at 62 than if you wait due to early filing reductions. Simply waiting until your full retirement age will prevent those early filing deductions.

Coordinating with Spousal Benefits

If you are married, you may qualify for Social Security benefits based on your spouse’s work record. The spousal benefit is up to 50% of your spouse’s PIA if you claim at full retirement age. So your household benefits can increase by coordinating when each spouse claims Social Security.

Other Resources if You Have Low Social Security Benefits

Even if you increase your minimum benefit, Social Security likely will not be enough to fully replace your pre-retirement income. If you will be relying heavily on your Social Security benefits in retirement, here are some other resources that can help:

  • 401(k), IRA, or other retirement savings: Make sure to contribute to tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts during your working years.
  • Pension benefits: If you have a traditional pension from an employer, this can provide guaranteed income in retirement.
  • Part-time work: Earning income from part-time work can help supplement your Social Security benefits.
  • Government assistance programs: Low-income seniors may qualify for other government benefits like SNAP, HUD housing assistance, Medicaid, SSI, and more. Check if you are eligible.
  • State retirement benefits: Some states provide supplemental retirement benefits to seniors with limited incomes.
  • Downsizing: Consider downsizing your home or living in a lower cost area to reduce expenses.
  • Budgeting: Create a lean budget in retirement and look for ways to save money on costs.


The absolute minimum Social Security benefit you can receive at age 62 in 2023 is $553 per month. However, most retirees receive well above this amount. If you are worried about having very low lifetime earnings, there are strategies to increase your minimum benefit such as working longer, increasing your pre-retirement income, coordinating spousal benefits, and waiting to claim until at least full retirement age. Supplementing Social Security with other sources of retirement income and reducing your retirement expenses can also help if you will be receiving the minimum benefit.