Muskogee Lawyer BlogHow To Increase Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefitsThe amount of Social Security benefit payments you receive when you retire largely depends on how much money you earned over the course of your working lifetime, the age at which you begin receiving benefits and the number of dependents you have. There are  a number of ways to increase the amount of your Social Security benefits. Read on to find out how!

Delay Claiming Your Social Security Benefits

Arguably, the easiest and most obvious way to increase your Social Security benefits is to delay claiming your benefits. You can begin to collect Social Security payments from the age of 62. However, the longer you wait, the bigger your monthly benefit payments will be. The Social Security Administration will increase your monthly benefits by between 4-8% for each year you delay claiming your Social Security benefits past your full retirement age (between 65-67, depending on the year you were born), until you are 70 years of age.

So, for example, if you have earned an average of $75,000 a year and start receiving benefits at age 65, you would be eligible to receive approximately $21,000 in benefits yearly. However, If you waited until age 70, you’d be eligible to receive $29,000 in benefits yearly, a significant increase over age 65.

Working Longer Before Retiring

Your Social Security benefits are calculated according to your 35 highest earning years, including any years where you did not report an income, which will act to decrease the ultimate amount of your benefit payments. So, by working longer, you can minimize the number of low earning years you have in your earnings history and thereby increase your payout.

Increase Your Earnings Now

Similarly, if you earn more money during your earning years, you will increase your Social Security benefits. So if you are able to obtain a raise in salary or a better paying job from now until you retire, you will enjoy higher benefit payments.

Claiming Spousal Benefits

You are allowed to claim benefits based on your own earnings history or 50 percent of your spouse’s earning history, whichever is higher. If half of your spouse’s earning history is greater than the sum total of your own, you can claim based on his or her work record and increase your benefits. You can also claim based on an ex-spouse’s earnings record, if you had been married for at least 10 years.

You can use this method as a way of receiving spousal benefits while increasing your own benefit payment. For instance, if you are past full retirement age, and claim spousal benefits as explained above, you can later switch to receiving benefits payments based on your own earnings history, which will have increased because you delayed claiming your benefits.

Having Dependents

Having dependents under the age of 19 will also increase your Social Security benefits. You can receive as much as an additional 50 percent of your entitled benefits (at full retirement) for having dependents under the age of 19.

Other Important Social Security Considerations

Depending on your circumstances, delaying your Social Security benefits may or may not be the best option for you. In fact, the majority of people begin to collect Social Security at age 62. There are several reasons why you may want to start collecting Social Security payments as soon as possible. Here are a few:

  • You need the money to live on.

  • You are unable to work, but are not eligible for unemployment.

  • You are close to, or already over, the Social Security earnings limit.

  • You are in ill health and don’t expect to live very long.

On the other hand, delaying your retirement can be advantageous if:

  • You are married and your spouse has contributed much less to Social Security than you have.

  • You have dependents who you wish to enjoy higher monthly benefits as your survivors once you die.

Comparing Retirement Ages

If you can estimate the age at which you will die, you can compare the advantages of retiring at different ages. If the age at which you estimate you will die is beyond your break-even age (the age at which the total sum of benefits to be received at two different ages are equal), that age that will provide you the greatest total sum of benefits from the age at which you begin receiving payments until the age at which you die will be the best age to retire.

Confidential Consultation: Muskogee Social Security Attorney

It’s important to have a solid idea of what you wish to accomplish before you begin claiming your Social Security benefits. This is made all the more important because once you make your decision, options for changing your mind will be extremely limited. To know more about your social security options and how  best to plan for a comfortable retirement, consult with an experienced Social Security attorney.

Contact the Wirth Law Office – Muskogee for a free consultation today with a Muskogee Social Security lawyer at (918) 913-0725 or call toll-free at (888) 447-7262. If you prefer to contact us by email, use the form at the top of this page or email

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