What is the current eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security?
It is important to note that everyone does not automatically qualify for these programs at some point. You earn eligibility through the accumulation of retirement credits, and the maximum annual accrual is four credits.
Anyone that works for any length of time in a year will get the four credits, because the requirement is very modest. Once you have a total of 40 credits, you will qualify for Medicare and Social Security when you reach the eligibility age.
It should be noted that if you are married and your spouse has met this 40 credit minimum requirement, you would qualify for Medicare, even if you never worked.
For Medicare, the eligibility age is cut and dried. At the time of this writing, you can enroll when you are 65 years of age. The parameters that apply to Social Security eligibility are quite a bit different.
You can choose to accept a reduced benefit when you are as young as 62 years old. For a full Social Security benefit, the age is between 66 and 67 depending on your year of birth.
The age is exactly 66 for people that were born between 1943 and 1954, and it then goes up by two months each year until 1960 when it tops out at 67 years of age.
If you want to maximize your benefit, you could delay the submission of your application beyond your age of full eligibility. If you do this, you gain retirement credits that increase your benefit by 8 percent for each year that you delay, but you can only do this until you reach the age of 70.