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Social Security pays Social Security benefits depending on your retirement age, which in turn depends on when you were born. Social Security benefits are an important aspect of your retirement planning, so pay attention to how much you have and when you will need to use it! If you were born before 1938, your "full retirement age" is 65. Because of longer life expectancies, the full retirement age is increasing for people born after 1938. You can start your Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but the amount you receive each month will be less than if you start at full retirement age.