Being able to file for social security is an essential part of retirement life. Doing plenty of research ahead of time can help you determine when the best time to file is.
There are also some steps that you can take to increase the amount of money that you receive in your Social Security check. Waiting a little bit longer or earning some additional income may be the best way to reap the benefits of a higher check amount.
How Do You Qualify For Social Security?
It’s most common for people to qualify for social security benefits when they’ve reached retirement age, but this age can vary a bit from person to person.
The typical age for qualifying is anywhere from 62 to 70 years of age. However, some circumstances allow you to qualify earlier. For example, a widow or widower can apply for social security benefits at 60 or 50 if disabled.
You must earn a specific number of credits before collecting a social security check. The government determines these credits by the amount of money you make in a year. For example, anyone born in 1929 or later must have 40 credits, equivalent to 10 years of work.
You’ll need to determine your situation that may warrant you filing for your benefits at a certain age. Some circumstances may require you to take your benefits early, while others have the luxury of waiting a little bit longer.
Knowing what your options are will help you make the best decision.
What Is The Social Security Benefit Based On?
The government bases Social Security benefits on numerous factors, but your earned income is most important. The more money you make, the higher your Social Security check.
The Social Security Administration records how much eligible money you have accumulated each year. Then, they will use the amount of your income subject to social security taxes to determine your retirement benefits.
There is a maximum, however. In 2022, the maximum amount is $4,194 per month if you wait to claim benefits until age 70. After that, this amount fluctuates each year.
If you have worked for over 35 years, they will take only 35 of your highest-earning years into account. Any missing years under 35 years that you didn’t work will account for $0.
Lastly, your earnings are adjusted to take into account wage inflation. Then, the government will determine your primary insurance amount, which you can receive at your retirement age.
You can receive your wages as early as the age of 62, but the government will reduce your benefits unless you wait until your retirement age. If you continue to wait past your eligible age, your monthly amount will increase by eight percent each year.
What is the Maximum You Can Receive Per Month?
The maximum amount of money you can receive each month from Social Security benefits is $4,194 for 2022 if you wait to claim benefits until age 70, which adds up to just over $50,000 per year.
Of course, there are eligibility requirements that you must adhere to receive this amount, which includes the number of years worked, and you’ll need to put off claiming your benefits.
How Do You Qualify to Receive the Maximum Amount?
You must meet some qualifications to earn the maximum amount of Social Security.
First, you must claim your benefits at your full retirement age. However, if you claim beforehand, you will be subject to filing penalties, which will lower your amount.
You also need to have worked for a minimum of 35 years. You will reduce your amount if you work less than those 35 years. The income you earned should equal or exceed the wage base limit.
This limit changes from year to year. For example, the wage base limit for the year 2022 is $147,000.
Ways to Increase Your Social Security Check
Are you looking to reap the highest amount from your Social Security benefits? Here are four ways to do so.
Boost Your Income Amount
Earning the highest monthly Social Security amount can be achieved by having a higher income throughout your 35-year career. You can increase this amount by working longer or earning additional income in those final years.
Timing your Social Security claim can significantly affect the amount that you receive each month. So let’s take a closer look at the differences between specific age brackets.
According to AARP.org:
- At 62, the maximum amount you can receive from Social Security benefits in 2022 is $2,364.
- At 66, the maximum amount you can receive from Social Security benefits in 2022 is $ 3,240.
- At 70, the maximum amount you can receive from Social Security benefits in 2022 is $ 4,194.
If you wait until 70, this qualifies you for a higher monthly payment amount. You receive about eight percent higher than the amount you put off claiming your benefits for each year.
Utilize Spousal Benefits
The spouse that earned less money can claim their benefits based on their earnings, or fifty percent of their spouse’s benefit amount.
Determining which is the higher amount can be beneficial. However, you have to wait until 62 to use this option. The higher-paid spouse must also be receiving their benefits.
How Can I Use My Income to Get More Money From Social Security?
Social Security will consider your average indexed monthly earnings for 35 years. Then, they will choose the 35 years you made the most money to come up with your monthly amount.
If you want to increase your monthly benefit, the goal is to replace low-income years with higher incomes. You can do this by increasing your earnings leading up to retirement or increasing the number of years you’re working before claiming benefits.
What is the Disadvantage of Not Waiting Until the Age of 70?
The longer you wait to claim your Social Security benefits, the higher the amount. Conversely, if you choose to claim your benefits earlier in your sixties, the amount will decrease. This lower amount may not be a big deal to you, but it’s worth comparing the different amounts and figuring out your budget.
There’s a lot to consider when you’re nearing the age of claiming your SS benefits. While you may be excited about the prospect of receiving your check, it may benefit you to wait a few extra years. If you have the income you need to live right now, consider prolonging your benefits.