What Is Normal Retirement Age?

The normal retirement age (NRA) is the age at which people can receive full retirement benefits upon leaving the workforce. In the United States, for example, the normal retirement age for receiving full Social Security benefits is 67 years of age for persons born after 1959. Birth years prior to 1960 have various normal retirement age requirements. Retirement prior to the normal retirement age reduces benefits, and retirement after the normal retirement age increases benefits.

Normal retirement age is often referred to as "full retirement age."

Key Takeaways

  • Normal retirement age (NRA) refers to the age you must reach to be eligible to receive full benefits from Social Security. This age can vary depending on when you were born. 
  • In the U.S., full retirement age is currently 66 years and two months for those born after 1955 and will gradually increase to 67 for those born after 1960.
  • Normal retirement age for various countries' retirement systems varies, typically between 65 and 67 years of age.

Understanding Normal Retirement Age

Normal retirement age also applies to pension plans, such as employer-sponsored plans. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) identifies normal retirement age for minimum vesting purposes as the earlier of the normal retirement age as specified under the plan, or the later of age 65 or the fifth anniversary of the beginning of plan participation. Currently, the full benefit age is 66 years and two months for people born in 1955, and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. 

Public servants, police officers, and military members, for example, typically receive full benefits after a certain number of service years, rather than a specific age. Given concerns about the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund, coupled with demographic changes and increases in longevity, there is talk of making the normal retirement age higher.

Normal Retirement Age Changes

Amendments in 1983 to Social Security included a provision that allowed raising the full retirement age beginning with people born in 1938 or later. Improvements in the overall health of older people and increased life expectancy prompted the change. The Social Security Administration provides a calculator that will tell an individual their full, normal retirement age.

If you were born after 1960, your normal retirement age is 67, though you may begin claiming benefits at age 62 at a reduced sum (70% of the normal retirement age benefit) because you will receive benefits for 60 months longer. At age 65, you will get 86.7% of the full retirement benefit. If you start receiving benefits as a spouse at normal retirement age, you will get half the monthly benefit your spouse would receive if their benefits started at the normal, full retirement age. Similarly, you can wait until after the normal retirement age to begin collecting benefits and instead collect delayed retirement credits until age 70.

Normal Retirement Age Around the World

Normal retirement age throughout the world typically falls between 65 and 67 years of age, and can also vary for men and women. Here are some examples:

  • Australia: 66 (to be increased to 67 by 2023)
  • Brazil: 65 (men); 62 (women)
  • Canada: 65
  • China: 60 (men); 50–55 (women)
  • France: 62
  • Germany: 65 (gradually increasing to 67 for those born in 1963)
  • India: 58
  • Indonesia: 56 (gradually increasing to 65 by 2043)
  • Japan: 65
  • South Korea: 62 (gradually increasing to 65 by 2033)
  • Mexico: 65
  • Philippines: 60
  • Russia: 60 for men (gradually increasing to 65 by 2028); 55 for women (gradually increasing to 60 by 2028)
  • United Kingdom: 65 (to be increased to 66 by 2020, and 67 by 2028)
  • The United States: 65–66 (to be increased to 67 for those born after 1960)