The 1983 Amendments phased in a gradual increase in the age for collecting full Social Security retirement benefits. The retirement age is increasing from 65 to 67 over a 22-year period, with an 11-year hiatus at which the retirement age will remain at 66.
The original Social Security Act of 1935 set the minimum age for receiving full retirement benefits at 65.
Congress cited improvements in the health of older people and increases in average life expectancy as primary reasons for increasing the normal retirement age.
Since the program first began paying monthly Social Security benefits in 1940 the average life expectancy for men reaching age 65 has increased nearly 6 years to age 83, for women reaching age 65, their average life expectancy has increased nearly 7 years to age 85.