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How To Increase Social Security Benefits Before Retirement

Consider Working In Retirement

Increase Your Social Security Benefit During Retirement

Theres no rule that says you cant work and claim Social Security at the same time. There are, however, restrictions on the amount of benefits you can receive if you continue working before reaching full retirement age.

Specifically, the SSA deducts $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual earnings limit allowed if youre under full retirement age. The limit for 2022 is $19,560. Once you reach full retirement age, the deduction goes to $1 for every $3 you earn over $51,960.

So if youre plan to claim benefits while working, be mindful of earnings to avoid reducing your retirement income. The good news is that once you reach full retirement age, you can earn as much as you want without facing a decrease in your monthly payment. Plus, your benefits will be recalculated to exclude the months when your benefits were reduced or withheld because you earned too much.

Work The Maximum Years

The easiest way to increase your Social Security benefits is to work the 35 years that Social Security counts and make as much as you can possibly make in those years.

Your Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings.

Your actual earnings are adjusted or indexed to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received.

Then Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most money.

Your highest 35 years of earnings are used to calculate your benefits. This includes years with zeros!

A quick way to increase your benefits is to replace those zero years with actual earnings.

Also, you can replace the smaller earning years with larger earnings. You may have to pick up extra hours at work or take on a side hustle to improve your benefits for life.

Working longer and harder may not be what you want to do right now, but it can help increase Social Security benefits before retirement.

Use the statement from to see how many zero or low years you have, and then replace them.

Check out this video on how to get set up on My Social Security.

Max Out Earnings Through Full Retirement Age

The SSA calculates your benefit amount based on your earnings, so the more you earn, the higher your benefit amount will be. Some pre-retirees look for ways to increase their income, such as taking on part-time work or generating business income. Others, however, unaware of the impact on benefits, may scale back on their work or semi-retire, which can lower their Social Security income.

“Money earned after age 60 isn’t indexed, which means that income-earning in your 60s can replace a year in which there was a zero or a year in which you had lower earnings,” says , CFP®, CRPC®, RICP, CDFA, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth, Gaithersburg, MD.

Earnings above the annual cap$147,000 in 2022 and indexed to inflation each yearare left out of the calculation. Your goal should be to maximize your peak earning years, striving to earn at or above the cap.

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No : Delay Starting To Collect Your Benefits

Another way to increase your Social Security benefits is to delay starting to collect them. You can start as early as age 62 and delay up to age 70. Each of us has a “full” retirement age , and for every year beyond that that you delay, your benefits will grow by about 8%. Delay from age 67 to 70 and you’ll get benefits 24% bigger. The table below shows the effect of starting to collect early or late. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you start collecting benefits at 64, your checks will be 80% of what they would have been had you started collecting at 67.

Social Security benefits table

Bridge To Medicare At Age 65

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Remember that while you are eligible for reduced Social Security benefits at 62, you won’t be eligible for Medicare until age 65, so you will probably have to pay for private health insurance in the meantime. That can eat up a large chunk of your Social Security payments.

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If You Retire Early Could You Potentially Run Out Of Money

While you won’t run out of Social Security benefits , you could exhaust your 401 or other retirement savings. However, you can help prevent that by being conservative with your withdrawal rate if you retire early, Tierney said.

She recommends regularly monitoring your spending and 401 withdrawal rate so you don’t outlive your assets. Forgoing an annual spending increase or reducing spending — especially when the market is down or inflation is high, like we’re experiencing now — can help avoid depleting your retirement savings.

Social Security Disability Insurance 202: Here’s When To Expect Your January Check

Waiting on your Social Security Disability Insurance check to arrive? SSDI recipients can look forward to a big increase in January’s check with the inclusion of the 2023 cost-of-living adjustment, the modification the Social Security Administration makes annually to keep checks in line with inflation. When you get your money depends on two things: your date of birth and the year you first started receiving SSDI money.

SSDI follows a similar schedule to Social Security payments, unless you’ve been getting SSDI checks for several decades. We’ll explain below.

For more, here’s why Supplemental Security Income recipients aren’t getting a check in January.

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Working After Beginning Benefits May Temporarily Reduce Them

If you file for Social Security benefits before your full retirement age but keep working, the Social Security Administration will temporarily reduce your benefit payments. For 2022, the amount of the reduction is $1 for each $2 you earn above $19,560.

If you reach full retirement age in 2022, the reduction drops to $1 for every $3 you earn above $51,960, until the month you reach full retirement age. Thereafter, there is no reduction no matter how much you earn.

Bear in mind that these reductions are only temporary. Once you reach full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be adjusted upwards to compensate you for the original reductions.

Wait Until At Least Full Retirement Age

Four Ways to Maximize Social Security Payments

As you can see from the maximum levels above, you can retire as young as 62 and collect Social Security, but your benefits will be reduced by 25% to 30%. For everyone born after 1942, the full retirement age is 66, with two months added for each year after 1954. For those born in 1960 and after, it is age 67.

Its wise to wait until the full retirement age to start collecting to get the highest amount youre eligible to receive. If it makes sense for your life situation, you can wait even longer and become eligible for delayed retirement credits that increase your monthly payment.

If you wait until you’re 70 instead of 62 to collect benefits, you’ll get an extra 8% a year. When you reach 70, the increases stop.

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How To Get A Social Security Card

  • Gather your documents. Learn what documents you’ll need to get a card. Select your situation:
  • Original, replacement, or corrected card
  • U.S. born citizen, foreign-born U.S. citizen, or noncitizen
  • Apply online for a replacement card. Apply online if youre not changing anything on your card and you are eligible. This option is available in most states. You will need to make a my Social Security account first. Or complete an application. If you can not apply online, fill out an application and return it to the SSA. Find out where to take it in person or mail it.
  • Other Pensions Might Reduce Your Social Security Benefits

    Your benefits will be affected if you have a pension from a job that didnt have Social Security taxes taken out of your paycheck. Common examples include people who worked for a public education system, railroad workers and Federal government employees hired before 1984 who are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System .

    Two complicated provisions will affect your claiming strategy: the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset . The WEP reduces your own benefits by a discounted factor based on how many years you worked in jobs that did not withhold Social Security taxes. The GPO reduces your spousal and survivor benefits by two-thirds of the amount of your noncovered pension.

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    Tips To Increase Your Social Security Check

    Simple strategies to maximize your benefits

    Thomas J Catalano is a CFP and Registered Investment Adviser with the state of South Carolina, where he launched his own financial advisory firm in 2018. Thomas’ experience gives him expertise in a variety of areas including investments, retirement, insurance, and financial planning.

    When Social Security was introduced in 1935, it was never intended to be a primary income source that could support people in retirement. Rather, its sole purpose was to provide a safety net for people who were unable to accumulate sufficient retirement savings. For the next several decades, the majority of Americans never gave much thought to their Social Security because of shorter lifespans and reliance on guaranteed pensions.

    Things are very different today.Social Security planning is now a vital element in securing income sufficiency in retirement and there are strategies to maximize your benefits.

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    Retirement Calculator With Social Security Benefits

    Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person’s highest 35 years of Social Security covered wage-indexed earnings, so additional years of earnings only increase a person’s benefit rate if they’re higher than one or more of the 35 years currently being used to calculate the person’s benefit rate.

    If your earnings in the years after you started collecting benefits are high enough to raise your benefit rate, Social Security should automatically increase your rate and pay you any additional benefits due. Best, Larry

    If My Wife Files For Spousal Benefits Now, Can She Claim Her Higher Retirement Benefit Later?

    Hi Larry, I was just was approved for my retirement benefits and am past my full retirement age. She reaches her full retirement age next year and her benefit will be more than half of mine.

    Can she get spousal benefits for a number of years before she files on her own record and if so, will she then be able to get her higher retirement benefit or would she be she locked in to her lower spousal benefit? Thanks, Barney

    Hi Barney, If your wife doesn’t reach full retirement age until next year, then what you’re proposing isn’t a valid option for her. Since your wife was apparently born after 1/1/1954, she can’t apply for spousal benefits without also being required to apply for her retirement benefits at the same time.

    Can I File On My Ex’s Record?

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    How Many Hours Can You Work And Still Collect Social Security

    As the name would imply, Social Security retirement benefits were meant to be paid out to beneficiaries after they stop working.

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    You can continue to work as long as you want, and you can still collect Social Security benefits. However, you should be aware that continuing to work after claiming Social Security benefits could reduce the amount that you receive, particularly if you have not yet reached full retirement age.

    How To Get A Benefits Increase

    You do not need to do anything to get a benefits increase in almost all cases. The Social Security Administration receives your earnings after the Internal Revenue Service accepts the W-2 information from your employer. If youre self-employed, it will be after your tax return is accepted and processed.

    SSA automatically recomputes your benefits. This happens throughout the year and can happen as late as December of the following year. For example, your earnings in 2022 may not be updated until December 2023.

    Dont worry, though, youll get a lump-sum back payment for the monthly difference in your benefits going back to the beginning of the year, regardless of how late in the year your benefits are recomputed. If you have direct deposit, youll likely see a payment for a seemingly random amount in your account before you even get the letter explaining what it is.

    If you set up a My Social Security account, youll have access to all of the letters SSA is sending, so you wont have to wait for an explanation in the mail.

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    Will You Pay Taxes On Your Social Security Benefits

    If, in addition to Social Security benefits, your retirement income includes taxable income in the form of wages, interest, dividends, and other sources, you could end up paying taxes on part of your benefits.

    It all depends on your provisional income. Provisional income includes your adjusted gross income, plus tax-exempt interest, plus half of your Social Security benefits. Single taxpayers reporting $25,000 or less in provisional income pay no taxes on their Social Security benefits. For married taxpayers filing jointly, the threshold is $32,000. If your provisional income exceeds those limits, a part of your Social Security benefits will be taxable.

    Does Working After Full Retirement Age Increase Your Social Security Benefits

    How much your Social Security benefits will be if you make $30,000, $35,000 or $40,000

    Although traditionally many Americans have envisioned retirement age as 65, according to the Social Security Administration, for those born in 1960 or later full retirement age is actually 67. Yet, you can file for your Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70.

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    There are additional variables that can make the whole subject of Social Security benefits even more confusing, from the reduction in benefits paid if you continue working after filing and the potential for the taxation of your benefits if you earn too much money.

    All of these questions can be distilled down into one: Does working after full retirement age increase Social Security benefits?

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    Get Ssa Benefits While Living Abroad

    U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country you’re visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.

    Maximizing Your Social Security Check Is Probably Easier Than You Realize

    This article was updated on April 7, 2018, and originally published on June 10, 2017.

    Whether you realize it or not, Social Security is a critical program for a majority of our nation’s retirees. What was designed by the federal government to be a supplemental income program in the 1930s has turned into a social program that slightly more than 60% of seniors rely on for at least half of their monthly income.

    According to a study conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, without Social Security income, the estimated poverty rate among seniors would be expected to spike above 40%. With Social Security income, the senior poverty rate is less than 9%.

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    How Working After Age 70 Can Increase Your Benefits

    Social Security benefits are based on your top 35 years of earnings. You can see your full earnings record by creating a My Social Security account at

    If you dont have 35 years of earnings, then making even a minuscule salary after age 70 can increase your benefit slightly because it will replace any year with a zero.

    If you do have 35 years of earnings history, then your benefits will only increase if you are earning more in your 70s than the lowest earning year in your history. In this case, the lowest year will be replaced and your benefits will be adjusted slightly.

    Social Security was originally created in 1935 to reduce the poverty rate for seniors. SSAs benefits computation is weighted more heavily towards lower earners. What this means for you is that if you have a lot of zero-income and low-income years, youll see a larger increase in your benefits by working.

    People with 35 years of high income will not see as big of a jump by working in their 70s, even if they are replacing lower income years.

    What If I Delay Taking My Benefits

    Metis Wealth Management and Planning

    If you retire sometime between your full retirement age and age 70, you typically earn a “delayed retirement” credit for your own benefits . For example, say you were born in 1960, and your full retirement age is 67. If you start your benefits at age 69, you would receive a credit of 8% per year multiplied by two . This means your benefit would be 16% higher than the amount you would have received at age 67.

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    C You Can Continue Working And Not Receive Your Retirement Benefits

    If you decide to continue working and not start your benefits until after full retirement age, your benefits will increase for each month you do not receive them until you reach age 70. There is no incentive to delay filing for your benefits after age 70. Continuing to work may also increase your benefits, because your current earnings could replace an earlier year of lower or no earnings, which can result in a higher benefit amount.

    If you are not receiving your Social Security benefits when you turn 65, you will need to apply for Original Medicare three months before you turn 65. If you dont sign up for Medicare Part B when youre first eligible at age 65, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have Medicare coverage.

    However, if you or your spouse are still working and covered under an employer-provided group health plan, talk to your personnel office before signing up for Medicare Part B. Once the covered employment ends, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for Part B. If so, you wont have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

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