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What Is The Highest Social Security Payment

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How Your Social Security Benefits Are Earned

What is the ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM POSSIBLE Social Security Payment?

To be eligible for Social Security benefits in retirement, you must earn at least 40 “credits” throughout your career. You can earn as many as four credits a year, so it takes 10 years of work to qualify for Social Security.

In 2021, you must earn $1,470 to get one Social Security work credit and $5,880 to get the maximum four credits for the year.

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.

Increase Your Social Security Benefits

If you’re starting to realize that the $3,895 is probably out of your grasp, know that there are still ways to increase the Social Security benefits you’ll get. For example, make sure you work at least 35 years, as the benefits are calculated based on the 35 years in which you earned the most . So if you’re planning to retire after working just 30 years, know that the formula will be incorporating five zeroes for five years. Working a few more years can boost your benefit — especially if you’re earning more now than ever.

Beefing up your income for a few years can also work, and you might accomplish that by taking on a side gig, such as walking dogs, teaching music or a language, making and selling things online, or doing freelance writing, editing, photography, or web design, among many other options.

So don’t fret if you’re not going to get the maximum payout . Instead, do what you can to simply maximize the payout that you do ultimately receive. Spending a little time reading up on Social Security can pay off if it helps you get more out of the vital program.

The $16,728 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook

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Don’t Miss: When Should You Apply For Social Security

Is There A Maximum Benefit

Yes, there is a limit to how much you can receive in Social Security benefits. The maximum Social Security benefit changes each year. For 2021, itâs $3,895/month for those who retire at age 70 . Multiply that by 12 to get $46,740 in maximum annual benefits. If that’s less than your anticipated annual expenses, youâll need to have additional income from your own savings to supplement it.

Social Security Eligibility: What It Takes To Receive Max Monthly $3895

The Maximum Social Security Benefit for 2017

For many Americans, social security benefits are a major source of income after retirement. In 2021, an average of 65 million Americans will receive monthly social security benefit checks totaling over $1 trillion paid during the year, according to the Social Security Administration.

While the average retiree receives $1,557 per month in benefits, the maximum you can receive per month is $3,895, as GOBankingRates previously reported. However, how much you receive depends on numerous factors.

Also Check: How To Get My Replacement Social Security Card

Gaining Back The Reduction In Benefits From Working

The amounts of early retirement benefits you lose as a setoff against your earnings are not necessarily gone forever. When you reach full retirement age, Social Security will recalculate upward the amount of your benefits to take into account the amounts you lost because of the earned income rule. The lost amounts will be made up only partially, however, a little bit each year. It will take up to 15 years to completely recoup your lost benefits. And remember, none of this readjustment will change the permanent percentage reduction in your benefits that was calculated when you claimed early retirement benefits .

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    How Can You Maximize Your Own Benefits

    For most older Americans thinking about claiming Social Security benefits, it’s too late to change your earnings record or to go back and earn more every year. But you can control both of the other two factors on this list you can make sure you’ve worked for at least 35 years prior to claiming benefits, and you can wait until 70 to claim them. Both of these steps can mean getting larger benefits, which can provide you with more financial security in your later years.

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    The Motley Fool is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news, analysis and commentary designed to help people take control of their financial lives. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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    Recommended Reading: How Do I Start My Social Security Benefits

    What Is The Maximum Social Security Benefit At Age 70

    The numbers start to be a bit better for those who are patient and wait to claim Social Security later. At age 70, the maximum Social Security benefit is $3,790, per month, in 2020. For those who have a comprehensive retirement plan, that will provide a base income that you cannot outlive. Again, if you have earned the revenue required to get the maximum Social Security benefit at age 70, that will still not be enough for you to maintain your standard of living in retirement.

    For the vast majority of Americans, when to take Social Security is a choice they get to make. However, those who wait to receive benefits will no longer have a choice once they reach age 70. Thats because 70 is the latest age at which you can start claiming benefits. Even for those fortunate enough to not need the money, they will be forced to claim Social Security at age 70.

    If you are still working, claim Social Security at age 70, and use the money to top off your retirement contributions. That is an excellent problem to have. I bet a few of you are rolling your eyes, but I know quite a few people who are still working, by choice, well into their seventies, and I have a few clients who are still working in their eighties. They are fortunate to have careers they love and the health to keep working.

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    Be A High Earner For At Least 35 Years

    Average Social Security Payment by Age

    Simply working 35 years isn’t enough if you want the biggest monthly checks. Your earnings need to equal or exceed Social Security’s maximum taxable income for each of those 35 years.

    That figure is adjusted each year to reflect changing wages. In 2021, the maximum taxable income is $142,800. It will increase to $147,000 in 2022. Earning enough to exceed the maximum taxable income for at least 35 years is by far the toughest requirement for getting Social Security’s maximum benefit. Only about 6% of workers will earn this much in any given year.

    Recommended Reading: When Should You Apply For Social Security

    What Is The Average Social Security Payout

    Although the top Social Security payout is actually rather sizable, the average benefit is much less. As of 2021, the average retirement payout amounted to just $1,517.67. Thats just $18,212.04 per year. Seeing as a full-time minimum wage worker pulls in about $30,000 per year, the average Social Security benefit wont get most retirees very far. As that $1,517.67 figure is just an average, it also means that many retirees earn payouts below that level.

    See: All the States That Dont Tax Social Security

    What Is The Maximum Social Security Benefit At Age 62

    The earliest age you can file for Social Security retirement benefits is age 62. For those who file for Social Security in 2020, the maximum they could receive at age 62 is $2,265 per month. Before you get excited, if you had the income history to get the maximum Social Security benefit in 2020, that would represent a significant drop in your income during retirement, assuming you dont have substantial assets to make up the difference.

    If you are financially independent and retiring early by choice, claiming Social Security at 62 may make sense. On the other hand, if you find yourself out of work and looking for money to get by, look for alternatives. Give the economy time to recover from the coronavirus pandemic so that you can go back to work. Exhaust all stimulus checks, unemployment, severance, or even unused vacation pay that may be at your disposal.

    In case you were wondering if you turn 62 this year, your full retirement age is 66 and 8 months.

    What is the Maximum Social Security Benefit at Age 67?

    When it comes to Social Security for the year 2020, the full retirement age is 66 and 2 months. For most people reading this, your full retirement age will likely be closer to 67. That being said, the maximum Social Security benefit for someone at full retirement age in 2020 is $3,011 per month.

    Want the Maximum Social Security benefit in 2020? Wait until age 70 to claim benefits.

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    How Many People In The United States Have A Private Pension Or Retirement Fund

    In addition to social security benefits, millions of retirees also rely on pensions or private funds liek a ROTH IRA. These funds provide additional income, which helps some as social security benefits are often described as modest.

    In 2020, almost half of workers 48 percent had access to a pension or private fund. This is concerning as the Social Security Administration estimates that By 2035, the number of Americans 65 and older will increase from approximately 56 million today to over 78 million.

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    How Your Social Security Benefits Are Calculated

    Learn About Social Security Income Limits

    Your Social Security benefits are based on the 35 calendar years in which you earned the most money. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be factored in at zero. You can increase your Social Security benefit at any time by replacing a zero or low-income year with a higher-income year.

    There is a maximum Social Security benefit amount you can receive, though it depends on the age you retire. For someone at full retirement age in 2021, the maximum monthly benefit is $3,113. For someone filing at age 70, the maximum monthly amount is $3,895.

    You can estimate your own benefit by using Social Security’s online Retirement Estimator.

    Read Also: How Much Social Security Will I Get At 64

    There Are Social Security Benefits For Surviving Spouses And Children

    If your spouse dies before you, you can take a Social Security survivor benefit, but not in addition to your own benefit. You must choose one or the other. If you are at full retirement age, that benefit is worth 100% of what your spouse was receiving at the time of his or her death .

    A widow or widower can start taking a survivor benefit at age 60, but the benefit will be reduced because it’s taken before full retirement age. If you remarry before age 60, you cannot get a survivor benefit. But if you remarry after age 60, you may be eligible to receive a survivor benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings record.

    Eligible children who are under age 18 or were disabled before age 22 can also receive a Social Security survivor benefit, worth up to 75% of the deceased’s benefit.

    What Moves Can You Make To Boost Your Social Security Payout

    Although the computation of your Social Security benefit can be complicated, the basic principles underlying it are simple. To maximize your Social Security benefit, youll have to earn as much as you can at least the Social Security wage base every year for 35 years and youll have to defer claiming Social Security as long as possible, which is age 70.

    Most workers cant earn at those levels for 35 years, so you may have to temper your expectations a bit when it comes to your Social Security payout. What you can do, however, is earn as much as possible, even if it falls below the Social Security wage base, and make sure that you work at least 35 years. If you want to retire after just 31 years of earning, for example, youll be taking zeroes in terms of your Social Security computation for four years. Working that additional four years could go a long way toward boosting your ultimate Social Security payout.

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    You Can Claim Social Security Benefits Earned By Your Ex

    Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to get a Social Security benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings record. You can receive a benefit based on his or her record instead of a benefit based on your own work record if you were married at least 10 years, you are 62 or older, and single.

    Like a regular spousal benefit, you can get up to 50% of an ex-spouse’s benefit — less if you claim before full retirement age. And the beauty of it is that your ex never needs to know because you apply for the benefit directly through the Social Security Administration. Taking a benefit on your ex’s record has no effect on his or her benefit or the benefit of your ex’s new spouse. And unlike a regular spousal benefit, if your ex qualifies for benefits but has yet to apply, you can still take a benefit on the ex’s record if you have been divorced for at least two years.

    Note: Ex-spouses can also take a survivor benefit if their ex has died after the divorce, and, like any survivor benefit, it will be worth up to 100% of what the ex-spouse received. If you remarry after age 60, you are still eligible for the survivor benefit.

    A claiming strategy if youre divorced: Exes at full retirement age who were born on January 1, 1954, or earlier can apply to restrict their application to a spousal benefit while letting their own benefit grow.

    Social Security Cost Of Living Adjustment For 2022

    Calculating the maximum Social Security tax you can pay

    High inflation seems like a good thing when it comes to your Social Security benefits. The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment will be 5.9%. This is the largest Social Security COLA in nearly 40 years. On the flip side, this also means that things you are buying every day have cost you more over the past year. In case you didn’t know, your current and future Social Security benefits may be increased each year, partially depending on inflation numbers.

    Also Check: How To Find Out My Current Social Security Benefits

    How Much Will The Average Social Security Income Increase

    The average Social Security recipient will see an average monthly increase of $92 to their monthly retirement income, bringing their total check to $1,657 per month, according to the SSA. For married couples, their average payment will increase by $154, raising theirbenefit amount to $2,753 per month.

    In previous years, the average increase was much lower. In 2021, the 1.3% increase brought retired beneficiaries an average of $20 more on their monthly premium.

    About 50% of seniors rely on Social Security benefits for at least half their income, and about 25% rely on these benefits for their entire earnings.

    If you are on Social Security benefits and are struggling to make payments amid this years economic impacts, consider taking out a personal loan while interest rates are at record lows. Visit Credible to compare multiple loans at once and choose the option that is best for you.

    How Cola Increases Evolved Over Time

    Each year, the SSA announces any increases to Social Security benefits, known as COLA, to help recipients keep up with rising prices. The increases are tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers , which is the official measure of the monthly price change in goods and services. Annually, the SSA compares the CPI-W for the third quarter of the previous year and current year to determine the COLA increase.

    While COLA adjustments are now automatic, this was not always the case. Beneficiaries received their first COLA adjustment in October 1950. A second increase was made in September 1952 through legislation. For the next 20 years, recipients only saw their benefits increase if Congress approved it.

    In 1972, Congress passed legislation to provide automatic increases linked to a rise in consumer prices. Recipients would no longer have to wait for Congress to take action to receive an increase. The first automatic increases to Social Security benefits took effect in 1975. After 1982, COLA adjustments were effective for December of each year and received by beneficiaries in January.

    Here is a history of COLA increases from 1975 to 2021:

    Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustments

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