Early Social Security Demands, Prepare for This Big Change in 2023

(Kylie Hagen)

We’re only a few weeks away from figuring out what kind of a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) Social Security recipients can expect in 2023. While this is a pretty big deal, it’s not the only exciting change coming to the program next year.

Workers who claim Social Security early may notice a difference in their checks that has nothing to do with COLA. Below, we’ll look at what this is and who it applies to.

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What does it mean to claim Social Security early?

You can sign up for Social Security as early as 62. But you have to wait until full retirement age (FRA) To claim your benefits based on your employment history. The table below will help you figure out what your HR assessment should be.

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Year of Birth

full retirement age (FRA)

From 1943 to 1954



66 and 2 months


66 and 4 months


66 and 6 months


66 and 8 months


66 and 10 months

1960 onwards


Data source: Social Security Administration.

Claiming benefits before your FRA is considered an early claim. Doing this will get you more checks, but each check you get will be smaller. If you claim age 62 and your FRA is 67, you will only get 70% of your full benefit per check, or 75% if your FRA is 66.

Claiming Social Security early also carries another problem for these people still working. But 2023 will buy them a little more room to breathe before they have to worry about it.

This may help you keep more of your Social Security checks

The Social Security Administration is blocking some retirement benefits of the first claimants whose annual income is very high. In 2022, you lose $1 for every $2 you earn over $19,560 if you were to be subject to your FRA all year long. On the other hand, if you reach your FRA in 2022, you will lose $1 for every $3 you earn over $51,960, assuming you earn that much before your birthday. This is known as the Social Security earnings test. The government does not withhold any money from Social Security checks for those in or over the FRA, regardless of income.

If the government withholds some of the money from your checks, it’s not gone forever. Once you get to your HR assessment, it recalculates your interest and gives you a slightly larger check to make up for what it had previously withheld. However, it can be frustrating to lose some of your Social Security benefits, even for a short time.

Fortunately, in 2023, the thresholds for testing earnings are likely to increase. This means that while claiming Social Security before your FRA, you will be able to earn a larger amount of money before you have to worry about the government taking anything from your checks.

The government hasn’t officially announced the new income thresholds for 2023 yet, but it goes up every year, so we can expect them to be higher than the ones mentioned above. However, some high-income earners can still receive smaller checks due to an earnings test if they claim benefits under their Finance Act. Those who want to avoid this may consider delaying Social Security benefits altogether.

Doing so will get you more money when you finally sign up. For each month you’re late, Social Security increases your checks until you reach your maximum benefit at 70 — if your FRA is 67, that’s 124% of the full benefit for each check, or 132% if your FRA is 66.

Delaying may be the wisest move for your finances if you expect to live in your 80s or beyond and are comfortable paying your bills without help from Social Security in the meantime. But if you want to claim early, just be aware of the earnings test and what it can do to your benefits. Plan accordingly, so you won’t be surprised if the government starts withholding some of your checks.

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