There is a lot of confusion with regard to Social Security, especially when it comes to when you can begin receiving benefits. Here's the scoop:
In order to receive full Social Security benefits, you must wait until your full retirement age, which is between 65 and 67, depending on the year you were born. You can receive a reduced level of benefits starting at age 62. However, keep in mind that if you choose this option, you're locking in this level of benefits for your entire retirement.
It's important to note that you won't receive benefits automatically when you reach a certain age–you have to apply for them. You can do this online at www.socialsecurity.gov, by calling (800) 772-1213, or by visiting your local Social Security office. You should apply for benefits at least three months before you wish to begin receiving them.