Full Retirement Age (FRA), which is the age at which you're entitled to receive 100% of your Social Security monthly retirement benefit, increased from 65 to 66 as a result of the 1983 Amendments. Now, FRA is being phased in to increase to 67 for individuals born in 1960 and later. This is reasonable given the fact that life expectancy has increased, from about 61 in 1935 when the Social Security Act was written and 65 was established as the retirement age, to 79 today.
Widening gap between early and full retirement age
While FRA has gradually increased from 65 to 67 depending on year of birth, there has been no change in Social Security's eligibility, or "early retirement" age. Early retirement was introduced to the Social Security system in 1956 when retirement-benefit eligibility was reduced from age 65 to 62 for women and was extended to men in 1961. Individuals who elected to apply for benefits at 62 received 80% of the amount they would receive if they waited until 65.