How You Can Grow Your Social Security Benefits Beyond Retirement Age

November 30, 2017 • By

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Last Updated: November 3, 2023

man and woman outside on laptop For more and more Americans, reaching retirement age no longer means the end of an active working life. Many people are choosing to work past the age of 65, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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 you with additional income to pay your bills, extending your employment or working for yourself could boost your lifetime Social Security benefits.

Here’s how:

Whether you’re still working or not, waiting to claim your Social Security retirement 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. To learn more about delayed retirement credits, please visit our Retirement Benefits page.

You get credits on your earnings record for each year of additional work income. Once you start receiving retirement benefits, we’ll automatically review your earnings record each year to determine if you’re entitled to an adjustment. When we calculate your retirement benefit amount, we use your best 35 years of earnings. We’ll increase your benefit amount if your new year of earnings is higher than one of the years we used to calculate your initial benefit amount. To see how we calculate your benefits, see our publication, Your Retirement Benefit: How It’s Figured.

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

We also encourage you to set up your own online my Social Security account so you can verify your lifetime earnings record, check the status of an application for benefits, and manage them after you’re receiving them. You can create your personal my Social Security account today.

Social Security is committed to helping you prepare for a secure today and tomorrow for you, your family, and future family. You can access all of our retirement resources on our Retirement Benefits page.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Joyce E.

    I received a letter in late Aug. I think,explaining that I would receive an added amount (I think a one time).because of an underpayment from your end.
    I ,by accident threw away the first of three pages with explanation of this refund.
    I have not received any refund as of this date.

    Help me understand!!!

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Joyce. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  2. Michael M.

    I retired at my full retirement age (66) in July 2019. I have continued to work and have had SS taxes withheld on qualifying wages. Will my benefits be increased based on these withheld SS taxes? I received my 2020 SS COLA letter with no indication that there has been an increase due to additional withheld SS taxes.

    • Luis A.

      Hi Michael. Earnings for the previous year (in your case 2019) are posted after the end of the taxable year in which your wages were paid. We will add your 2019 earnings to your record when your employer reports them to us. Then, in August, we will recalculate your benefits to see if any additional increase is due. We will notify you if there is a change in your benefits. We hope this helps.

  3. Deryl D.

    I will be 70 years old on June 5, 2020. I want to draw my Social Security and and continue to work at a salary in excess o f $100,000 per year. Will my Social Security check be reduced due to this earnings?

    • Luis A.

      Hi Deryl. Once you reach your full retirement age, which you have already reached based on your comment, the earnings limits do not apply. Every year, we recalculate the earnings of the beneficiaries who are working to see if they are due an increased based on the new earnings. Please read our publication about work and earnings here. We hope this helps.

  4. Judy R.

    In what section can I go to so I can print my monthly payment schedule?

    • Luis A.

      Hi Judy. You can find the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments here. We hope this helps.

  5. Sondra K.

    How can I find my Medicare number?

  6. Rosemary G.

    I applied for disability in 2009 I was turned down. I have tried to reapply for disability and they told me I could not apply. They said because of my age. When I first applied I was ten years younger. I don’t understand why I cannot reapply.

    • Luis A.

      Hi Rosemary. Please note that anyone has right to apply for Social Security benefits. However, for your security, we do not have access to your personal information in this forum. For specific questions about your account, please call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), from Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You may also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  7. Mark f.

    What is a grace year?

  8. R. W.

    I am asking a question on behalf of someone…..If I am Social Security eligible and so is /spouse/husband, can I defer my ss payout until I reach the age of 70 continue to work and defer my benefit payout until age 70 or however long I work, and collect a portion of husbands ss in the mean time without this affecting the hushands ss benefit. Then once I retire I can then collect my own social security payout?

    • Luis A.

      Hi R. Please note that if a person is eligible for benefits, the person must apply for her/his own benefits first. Our rules state that a person who turned 62 on or after January 2, 2016 has to apply for all benefits due her/him. This rule is called “deemed filing.” You can read all about deemed filing here. For more information about spouse’s benefits, please visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse. We hope this helps.

  9. Mike M.

    My 66 year old spouse started drawing her SS. I turn 66 in Dec., but plan to continue working. As long as I do not draw SS,, Can I draw 1/2 of my wife’s SS, without effecting my or her retirement benefits ?

    • Luis A.

      Hi Mike. If you are full retirement age, you were born before January 2, 1954, and you are applying for spouse’s benefits only, you can apply online by using the retirement application. You can also contact us to schedule an appointment or to ask specific questions. Also keep in mind that if you work and are full retirement age or older, the amount you make will not affect your Social Security benefits or hers, no matter how much you earn. For more information about spouse’s benefits, please visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse. We hope this helps.

  10. Bruce S.

    Why not let me pay back what I got in reduced payments while I worked to 65 years and get the higher amount now . I asked and asked but couldn’t find out about it .

    • Luis A.

      Hi Bruce. Your question is a bit more complex than we can handle in this forum. For your security, we do not have access to personal information in this venue. For questions about your case, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You may also visit your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

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