Every year you earn income, the government keeps a portion of your earnings to cover Social Security taxes. If you pay into the Social Security system for at least 10 years, you are entitled to a monthly income benefit when you reach retirement age. Social Security retirement benefits provide a steady income stream during retirement, but you won't be able to start taking benefits right away if you retire too early.
Social Security Retirement Benefits
The earliest you can start taking Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. So if you're 60, you'll have to wait two more years. Taking benefits before your full retirement age will, however, reduce your monthly Social Security income. Full retirement age varies depending on your date of birth. For those born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66, and it increases to 67 for those born in 1960 or after.