Growing your social security benefits beyond retirement age

Social security cards with statements.

As more Americans reach retirement age, it no longer means the end of an active working life. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people are choosing to work past age 65.

If you’re willing and able, main­taining gainful employment later in life could go a long way toward ­ensuring a secure future for you and your family. Besides ­providing ­additional income to pay bills, ­extending your employment or ­working for yourself could boost your lifetime Social Security benefits.

Waiting to claim your Social Security benefits could grow them significantly. Through delayed retirement credits, your monthly benefit amount increases for each year you wait between your full retirement age and 70. Full retirement age is between 65 and 67, depending on when you were born.

You get credits on your ­earnings record for each year of ­additional work income. Once you start ­receiving retirement benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will auto­matically review your ­earnings record each year to determine if you’re ­entitled to an ­adjustment. The ­calculation is based on your best 35 years of ­earnings and the benefit amount will increase if your new year of ­earnings is higher than one of the years used to calculate your initial benefit amount.

An increased benefit amount could mean more support for your family, too, through Social Security spousal ­benefits, child benefits and survivor benefits.

The SSA encourages everyone to set up an online Social Security account in order to verify your lifetime earnings records, check the status of an application for benefits and ­manage them after you’re ­receiving them. You can create a personal account by going to www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Source: Social Security Administration

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