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What Is The Maximum Amount Of Social Security Benefits

Dont Withdraw Your Benefits Till Age 70

What is the Maximum Social Security Benefit in 2022? How is Social Security calculated?

The Social Security benefits are maximum for those who access their funds at age 70. So, despite having the option to withdraw your Social Security funds at 62, you should ideally wait until youre 70 to reap the maximum Social Security benefits. The longer you wait, the more the benefits. To understand this further, consider the maximum benefit values for different age groups in 2022. The difference in the amount of maximum Social Security benefit between ages 67 and 62 is $981 per month, in favor of withdrawal at the age of 67. Similarly, the retirement benefit difference between ages 67 and 70 is $849 per month, once again favored for withdrawal at a later age. Most strikingly, there is nearly a $2,000 monthly difference between the maximum benefits at age 70 and age 62, taking the annual difference to $24,000. However, it is essential to note that deferring the withdrawal after 70 does not improve the benefits.

Social Security’s Maximum Payment May Surprise You

If you’re retiring and you qualify for Social Security‘s maximum benefit, you could pocket $3,895 per month in Social Security income in 2021. You’ll only collect that much money if you begin receiving benefits at 70 years or older, though. The maximum amount you can collect this year if you file at age 62 is $2,324, and the maximum paid if you’re 66 is $3,113.

However, you should know Social Security’s formula is complex and collecting the maximum benefit depends on many things, including the length of your work history. Here’s how Social Security calculates maximum benefits and what you can do to get the biggest possible payout.

Image source: Getty Images.

How Is Social Security Calculated

Social Security comes with its own eligibility criteria.

You must be 62 years of age or disabled or blind and must have 40 work credits. 40 work credits would compare to 10 years of work, as you can earn as many as four credits per year, depending on your earnings. Note – 40 credits are required to claim benefits under retirement. If you are disabled or claiming survivor benefits, the credit requirements are different.

The first step in calculating Social Security benefits is to combine the compensation as received in your 35 highest-earning years. Every wage you have earned is considered if you have only worked for exactly 35 years. If you have not worked for 35 years, a zero value is assigned to the absentee years.

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Fraud In The Acquisition And Use Of Benefits

Given the vast size of the program, fraud sometimes occurs. The Social Security Administration has its own investigatory unit to combat and prevent fraud, the Cooperative Disability Investigations Unit . The Cooperative Disability Investigations Program continues to be one of the most successful initiatives, contributing to the integrity of SSA’s disability programs. In addition when investigating fraud in other SSA programs, the Social Security Administration may request investigatory assistance from other law enforcement agencies including the Office of the Inspector General as well as state and local authorities.

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    Should You Wait To Start Collecting Old Age Security

    You can receive your first Old Age Security pension payment the month after you turn 65.

    You can receive a higher amount for each month you decide to delay your first payment.

    You can delay payment of the Old Age Security pension for up to 60 months after you are 65. The longer you delay, the larger your pension payment will be each month.

    After age 70, there is no advantage in delaying your first payment. In fact, you risk losing benefits. If you are over the age of 70 and are not receiving an Old Age Security pension, apply now.

    If you are eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, there is also no advantage in delaying your first payment.

    Connect With Berger And Green For Help With Your Disability Benefit Claim

    The attorneys at Berger and Green have more than 40 years of experience handling all aspects of disability claims. We work hard to get our clients the benefits that they deserve. If you want to file a disability claim or the SSA denied your initial application, we can help.

    If your disability was the result of someone elses careless or reckless actions, you mighthave a valid personal injury case. Our attorneys might be able to help you recover damages in addition to your Social Security benefits. Contact us today at for a free consultation.

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    What Is The Maximum Social Security Benefit

    The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. If you retire at your full retirement age in 2022 , your maximum benefit would be $3,345. However, if you retire at age 62, your maximum benefit would be $2,364. If you retire at age 70, your maximum benefit would be $4,194.

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    How Social Security Is Calculated

    What Is the Maximum Social Security Benefit in 2022?

    Your paycheck doesnt all go to you. A percentage of your wages is taken out for federal and state income taxes, and then theres your contribution to Social Security.

    The tax rate is 12.4% for 2023, up to the maximum taxable amount of $160,200. The contribution is therefore limited to $19,865 whether your earnings are $160,200 or higher. You pay 6.2%, and your employer pays 6.2% out of their pocket, but youre on the hook for the entire 12.4% if you’re self-employed.

    Youll receive a monthly benefit based roughly on your lifetime of earnings when you’re ready to retire. The further away you are from retirement, the harder the forecast is to make, but the SSAs website has a variety of calculators you can use to estimate your benefit.

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    Does Receivingthe Maximum Social Security Benefit Change How Much You Pay In Taxes

    If Social Security is your only income, you are not requiredto pay taxes on it. That holds true even if youre receiving the maximum SocialSecurity benefit with one small difference.

    If you and your spouse bothreceive the maximum benefit allowed, your total benefits as a couple will bemore than the first threshold amount where Social Security income does becometaxable.

    This doesnt mean youll actually owe taxes once you fillout and submit your tax return but this presents one of the rare cases whereSocial Security benefits alone could cause you to exceed the taxationthresholds.

    Heres a quick review on how the taxation of Social Securitybenefits works. All of your income plus halfof your Social Security benefits are totaled to calculate your combined income:

    As long as your combined income is below certain limits,you wont have to pay any taxes on your Social Security benefits.

    Once your combined income exceeds those thresholds, the partthat is in excess is added to your taxable income:

    In the case of a married couple who both turned 66 in 2021 and received the maximum benefit but no other income, they would have a total benefit of $74,712 .

    Since the combined income formula only accounts for half of this amount, their total combined income would be $37,356 which exceeds the first threshold amount of $32,000. This may be a rare situation, but it does happen and its important to be aware of how this might impact you if youre in a similar position with your spouse.

    How To Maximize Your Own Social Security Benefit

    The bottom line is that although most retirees won’t qualify for the maximum Social Security benefit, understanding how the benefit is determined puts you in a better position to maximize yours to the degree that it’s possible. For example, if you’ve only worked for 34 years and are considering retiring, it could be worthwhile to stay at your job for another year in order to prevent a zero from being used when calculating your lifetime average. Or if you’re thinking of claiming Social Security at 65, waiting until your full retirement age could increase your monthly checks by hundreds of dollars.

    Social Security is the only inflation-protected income stream that the majority of retirees will have, so it’s smart to figure out how much you can expect from it, and to take steps to increase that benefit if you think you’d appreciate a little more reliable income after you retire.

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    How To Get The Maximum Social Security Benefit

    Few people receive the maximum Social Security check from the government. To defy this and potentially become one of a small handful to bag $4,194 per month, youll need to be a high earner over many decades and delay receiving the benefits.

    The checklist is as follows:

  • Earn at least the maximum wage taxable by Social Security over 35 years: Social Security takes your 35 highest-paid inflation-adjusted years and averages them together to compute your benefits. To be in with a chance of getting the max, youll need to contribute the max, which adjusts every year based on the national average wage index, across this time frame.
  • Elect to start receiving Social Security benefits at age 70: Social Security benefits can be accessed as early as age 62. However, to get the maximum, youll need to wait until youre 70.
  • If You Are Still Working And Receiving Old Age Security Payments

    Social Security Spreadsheet Fun

    If you are still working and your income is higher than $79,845 , you will have to repay part of your Old Age Security pension payment. Delaying your first payment can let you keep more of your pension.

    If you are planning on receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement and your income is less than what you reported on your tax form last year, contact us.

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    Checks This Large Could Take You Pretty Far

    In 2022, the top earning seniors rake in $4,194 per month in Social Security benefits, and they’ll be sitting even prettier next year. The 2023 cost-of-living adjustment , which helps benefits keep pace with inflation, is the third-highest since 1980, at 8.7%. And that’s sending the maximum Social Security benefit surging to a record high.

    While all seniors on Social Security can expect an increase beginning in January, only an elite few will claim the top prize. Here’s how to find out if you’re one of them.

    Image source: Getty Images.

    What Is The Maximum Possible Social Security Benefit In 2022

    The average monthly Social Security payment for retirees was $1,564 in November 2021. But many retirees receive over $3,000 per month from the Social Security Administration, and payments could be as much as $4,194 in 2022.

    The maximum possible Social Security benefit in 2022 depends on the age you begin to collect payments and is:

    — $2,364 at age 62.

    — $3,345 at age 66 and 4 months.

    — $4,194 at age 70.

    However, qualifying for payments worth $3,000 or more requires some serious career planning throughout your life. Here’s what you need to do to qualify for the maximum possible Social Security payment.

    Start Social Security Payments at Age 70

    The maximum Social Security benefit changes based on the age you start your benefit. Those who postpone claiming Social Security between ages 62 and 70 become eligible for higher payments with each month of delay.

    For example, someone who signs up for Social Security at full retirement age in 2022, which is 66 and four months for people born in 1956, could be eligible for as much as $3,345 per month. A person who claims payments at age 62 in 2022 has a smaller maximum possible benefit of $2,364 monthly. Only those who delay claiming past full retirement age are eligible for Social Security payments of significantly more than $3,500 per month. A high earner who enrolls at age 70 could get a maximum Social Security benefit of $4,194 each month.

    Consistently Earn a High Salary

    Earn the Social Security Taxable Maximum for 35 Years

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    If You Have Lived In Canada Less Than 40 Years

    Not everyone receives the full Old Age Security pension. The amount you receive depends on the number of years you have lived in Canada.

    If you lived in Canada for less than 40 years you will receive a partial payment amount. Your payment amount is based on the number of years in Canada divided by 40.

    You can delay your first payment up to 5 years to get a higher amount.

    Example

    If you lived in Canada for 20 years

    If you lived in Canada for 20 years after age 18, you would receive a payment equal to 20 divided by 40, or 50%, of the full Old Age Security pension.

    Work For At Least 35 Years

    What is the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE Social Security Payment?

    The Social Security Administration calculates your final benefit amount based on your earnings for the 35 years when you made the most. It then indexes your annual earnings, which is to say it adjusts for inflation, and then takes the average of the 35 indexed amounts. If you have income for less than 35 years, the SSA will give you a zero for those years short of 35.

    Thats why its important to have income for at least 35 years. Those zeroes can bring down your average significantly. The government used to send out peoples annual earnings histories, but stopped in 2011 to save money. Its a good idea, though, to check periodically what the government has recorded for you so you can make any needed corrections. You can do this easily by creating an online Social Security account.

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    Only 6% Of Workers Will Earn Enough This Year To Have A Shot At Social Security’s Biggest Benefit

    Think you have a shot at getting Social Security’s maximum benefit someday? Sorry to say it, but you probably don’t.

    The biggest monthly check you can get from Social Security is $4,194 in 2022. The benefit is adjusted for inflation, so in most years, the maximum benefit rises. But very few people will consistently earn enough over the course of their careers to get the maximum benefit.

    Here’s how much you have to earn to get Social Security’s largest checks.

    Image source: Getty Images.

    Social Securitys Special Minimum Benefit

    So, is there a minimum Social Security benefit? The answer is yes. To account for low-income earners, Social Security has something called the special minimum benefit. This benefit helps those who worked for many years but did not necessarily earn high wages. Using the normal Social Security calculation will result in a very low benefit amount for these individuals. Therefore, the special minimum benefit is calculated based on years of coverage instead of income. This means that people who receive the special minimum benefit will receive a payment amount that depends on how many years they have in their work history instead of how much they earned while working.

    So, just how much is the minimum benefit? Unfortunately, the minimum benefit can still be quite low if you do not have many years of work history. Most people see a higher benefit amount by using the traditional calculation. Some beneficiaries could receive a monthly payment of less than $50. On the other hand, themaximum Social Security benefit is fairly large. The maximum benefit for 2022 is $4,194 per month.

    The table below shows the amounts of the special minimum benefit based on the number of years of coverage you have.

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    Increased Old Age Security Pension At Age 75

    If you are or will be 75 years old or older in June 2022, you will get an automatic 10% increase of your Old Age Security pension starting in July 2022.

    If you are turning 75 after July 1, 2022 you will receive the increase in the month following your 75th birthday.

    The 10% increase in the maximum OAS pension rate will not affect the calculation of your Guaranteed Income Supplement .

    Minimum Spousal Benefits & Survivor Benefits

    When to Take Social Security: A Decision That Lasts a Lifetime

    Spousal benefits and survivor benefits related to the special minimum work exactly the same as they do with normal retirement benefits. Even if you do not have a work history of your own, you can qualify for benefits based on the work history of your spouse or ex-spouse. Spousal benefits are typically 50% of the primary beneficiarys benefit amount. There are several strategies that can be used tomaximize your Social Security spousal benefits. Survivor benefits are usually equal to 100% of the benefit amount of the deceased spouse.

    Spousal and survivor benefits are subject to the family maximum benefit. The family maximum is usually set at 150% to 180% of the primary insurance amount, although you can see the table earlier in this article for the family maximum when it comes to the minimum benefit. Spousal and survivor benefit recipients will also be entitled to annual cost-of-living adjustments, just like primary beneficiaries.

    Read Also: How To Qualify For Social Security Retirement Benefits

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