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  Countdown to retirement -- 60s
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Hello, senior citizen! All those years of paying your Social Security and Medicare taxes and working hard are winding down. This is the decade you are eligible to begin reaping the benefits of Social Security and Medicare coverage. Here are the details.

Slices of life: 62, 65

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Begin collecting Social Security
You can begin receiving Social Security benefits at age 62. But if you choose to do so before your full retirement age, which is between ages 60 and 67 depending on your birth year, your benefits will be reduced to account for the longer period over which you'll be paid. You could come out ahead, depending on how long you live.

Social Security: Now or later?
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Uncle Sam says you're at a full retirement age
If you were born before 1938, you can collect your full Social Security benefits. Those born in 1938 or later are not eligible for full benefits until at least age 65 years and two months. Baby boomers born between 1943 and 1954 will collect full retirement after they turn 66. After that, the age will rise in two-month increments until full retirement reaches 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

Some Social Security benefits may be taxable, Make sure your name and Social Security number match, An older-worker's guide to getting a job, Taxes on early-retirement benefits, IRS warns: Watch out for these "dirty dozen" tax scams

Social Security disability benefits convert
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits when you reach age 65, these benefits automatically convert to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same.

Eligible for Medicare insurance
If you or a spouse paid Medicare taxes while working, you'll start to get Medicare insurance now. Even if you don't plan to receive benefits right away, you still should sign-up for Medicare three months before you reach age 65. Check out the official Medicare Web site for more details.

-- Posted: Jan. 20, 2003

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