No. Anyone with the minimum number of 40 credits (essentially, calendar year quarters of coverage) can start receiving benefits as early as age 62, but the benefit will be permanently reduced based on the number of months you will receive checks before you reach full retirement age. The full or “normal” retirement age for new retirements currently is 66, having increased from 65 over six years starting in 2003. It eventually will rise to 67.
As a general rule, drawing benefits before full retirement age will give you about the same total Social Security benefits over your lifetime, but in smaller amounts to take into account the longer period you will receive them.
On the other hand, your benefit will be increased if you delay retirement (up to age 70, after which there is no further increase). The adjustment also is designed to make the amount come out about even over a lifetime.
Note: For those drawing benefits before their full retirement age who continue working, the Earnings Test must be taken into account. There is no Earnings Test after full retirement age.