As of 2014, individuals can collect Social Security as early as age 62, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. While collection at age 62 is permitted, the full retirement age ranges from 65 to 67, depending on an individual's year of birth.
Collecting benefits prior to the full retirement age results in a decreased monthly benefit, according to the SSA. As of 2014, individuals who were born in 1937 or earlier have a full retirement age of 65. Those individuals experience a 20 percent decrease in their monthly benefit if they accept Social Security at age 62. The full retirement age increases incrementally until age 67, which applies to individuals born in 1960 or later. Individuals who have a full retirement age of 67 experience a 30 percent decrease in their monthly benefit if they start receiving Social Security at age 62.