Q. I was born in April 1949. I want to know when I could start collecting Social Security? Also, I have been told because I have a state retirement, my Social Security benefit will be reduced. I would like to know why.

A. Under current law, you will be eligible to apply for a reduced Social Security benefit at age 62. The eligibility age for early benefits has not changed. You will be entitled to a full benefit at age 66.

If your state employment was not covered by Social Security but you are entitled to Social Security based on separate covered employment, the Windfall Elimination Provision of Social Security law will apply. That provision requires that your Social Security benefit be calculated by a reduced benefit formula unless you have at least 30 years of substantial Social Security earnings. For information about this provision, go on-line to the Social Security Administration’s web site at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10045.html.

If the Social Security benefit to which you refer is a spouse or widow(er) benefit, you will be subject to the Government Pension Offset if your state employment was not covered by Social Security. For further information read the Social Security Administration Government Pension Offset fact sheet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10007.html .