Social Security: How do I get the maximum benefit?

When talking Social Security benefits, there are many factors to account for.

Social Security card in wallet with money

Here are the basics to claiming your maximum benefit.


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What is the maximum benefit?

As of 2022, the maximum monthly benefit is $4,194. However, that is far more than the average retiree’s monthly benefit of $1,657. When determining your maximum benefit you should be aware of your full retirement age (FRA). You can find additional details by clicking here.

In order to get the maximum payment, you will have to consistently reach the maximum taxable earnings limit. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has to calculate each benefit. This is done by taking your average wages from the 35 years you earned the highest during your career and adjusting it for inflation.

The limit changes yearly based on the annual cost-of-living-adjustment. For this year, the limit is $147,000 a year. In 1987, the limit was $43,800. However, many people earn well under the annual limit. Luckily, there are some simpler ways to collect more Social Security benefits.


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How can I increase my benefit?

One of the easiest ways to increase your monthly Social Security benefit is to delay claiming. The earliest you can start to claim is 62. However, your benefit will be permanently reduced. For every month you wait from 62 until 70, you will increase your payment.

If waiting isn’t an option, be sure that you have worked for 35 full years before filing to get the highest payment.

Few people actually end up claiming the maximum Social Security benefit.


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