September 17, 2022

5 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits While Still Working

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As of August 2022, the average monthly Social Security retirement check is $1,626, which is after a the largest yearly increase seen in the program in nearly 40 years due to a cost-of-living increase because of inflation.

If you’re still working and worried about whether it will be enough for you in the future, read on. CHC  has five tips on maximizing your Social Security benefits before you retire.

  1. Work at Least 35 Years

Social Security takes your 35 highest-earning years to calculate your payout, so if you only work 35 years, some low-earning years from your teenage years or early 20s may be included. If you work fewer than 35 years, you’ll get zeroes for the years you don’t work, so it’s imperative to hit that 35 mark.

  1. Report All Earnings

This is more for people who report tips, freelance, and self-employment income instead of those with full-time jobs, as that income is already reported. If you short-change yourself on those types of income, it could hurt you when you retire because your Social Security payout won’t accurately be based on all your income.

  1. Wait to Take Benefits

You can take benefits as early as 62, but if you wait until age 70, you can get the maximum benefit afforded to you. In all, your monthly payout can be up to 75% higher if you start taking payments at 70 instead of 62.

  1. Try Not to Take Early Benefits If You’re Still Working

Your benefits can be reduced by as much as half if you take payments while you’re still working. If you’re working at your full retirement age, the program will recalculate your benefit and begin paying out at that point.

  1. You May Be Able to Stop Benefits

If you started your benefits early but decided to change your mind, you can—provided it’s within 12 months of accepting benefits.

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