The Social Security Administration pays out retirement benefits to retirees who are at least 62 years old. But putting off retirement for a few more years could mean a bigger payout. California workers who are hoping to retire early may be interested in how the SSA determines how much of a benefit a retiree will get.

For people who were born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67. Working until that age means that after retirement, 100 percent of benefits will be paid. Retiring before turning 67 will cut benefits. The rate is calculated using a formula based on how far from the age of 67 the retiree is. The younger people are when they retire, the more of their full benefit they will lose.

Many people hope to retire early, and in some cases, taking the cut in monetary benefits could be a fair exchange for the other benefits of early retirement. For example, people who have planned financially for retirement with savings could be able to enjoy a few extra years of not working without having financial difficulties. Working longer than desired to achieve a full Social Security benefit in this case may not be necessary.

Some people who are old enough for early retirement may be planning to work until full retirement age, but suddenly find themselves forced out of work due to a health problem. In this case, attempting to get back to work with poor health and so close to full retirement age might not be the best option. Social Security Disability benefits could help financially, and if approved, retirement benefits are paid at the full rate even though the retirement was early. Social Security Disability is an insurance plan that all workers pay into. Someone who is no longer able to work due to a disability is entitled to benefits, but the government has specific guidelines and definitions related to disabilities. Most people who apply for SSDI are denied the first time. Having the representation of an attorney at the outset can be advisable.