Expect up to $4,555 per month rise for the maximum Social Security benefit for 2023 for qualifying retirees (Csiszar, 2022).
The average Social Security benefit for 2023 is just $1,827 after an 8.7% COLA (Cost of living adjustment). But if you really want to earn the maximum benefit, there are really just ways to do it:
- Work at least 35 years.
The Social Security Administration selects the 35 top-earning years in a worker’s career for purposes of calculating benefits. If you choose to retire early and work just 30 years. For example, the SSA will calculate your income as $0 for five years. This highlights one of the major drawbacks of retiring too soon. It can be difficult to get back into the workforce later in life.
- It is recommended that you earn at least the Social Security wage base in each year.
The Social Security wage base is the amount of income subject to Social Security tax.. Above this level, workers no longer pay Social Security tax, so their earnings aren’t used in the calculation to determine benefits. To earn the maximum benefit, you’ll have to earn the wage base for each of your top 35 earning years.
- It is best to wait until age 70 before filing for benefits.
For most workers, full retirement age is 67. If you file for Social Security at 62 instead of 70, your benefit will be lower; however, you’ll receive 96 more payments from the government in total. If you’re looking to get the largest possible Social Security check, you must wait until 70.
It isn’t always the best option to claim the maximum Social Security benefit. If you rely on Social Security for most of your retirement income, getting your check as early as possible — at age 62 — might be a better option. Speak with your financial advisor to determine a claiming strategy that works best for you regardless of the size of your benefit.