How You Can Grow Your Social Security Benefits Beyond Retirement Age

November 30, 2017 • By

Last Updated: August 2, 2021

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


  1. Nada B.

    i am 82 they close my account in 2009 and give me from my husband at the time 72 $ I wrote to Obama and his
    vise president and 2 Florida Myers over the years one care a cent write good english and no one would help.
    send so many letters and go to S/S
    Who care


  2. Phyllis J.

    This 2% raise SS gave is a total fraud!!! I have been paying $111.00 every month for my insurance and now I receive a letter and it has jumped too 134.00 every month. This is a 20% increase in what I was paying! not 2 percent increase in the medical premium which is what the local SS office told me that the increase was based on what you were paying. I got the runaround from the local Dyersburg, TN office and I really don’t think they can figure out 2% of 111 dollars. They told me they would get back to me and rudely hung up the phone! I am protesting this amount from my SS check because it is greater than 2 %.

  3. george f.

    i started receiving my social security benefits at my full retirement age of 66 being born in 51
    I still work and will continue to work and am still contributing to SS
    my benefits should increase based on that
    and should increase every year I continue to work
    I will receive more total benefits doing it this way over my lifetime

  4. Susan L.

    I have a question! I was married and divorced , married July 2, 1994, divorced March 8, 2009. My ex husband is deceased. I understand I am able to collect his social security benefits rather than mine. Is this correct? Would I still be able to work? I am 62 years old and currently employed full time. Please advise!! Thank you! Sue

  5. Darlene R.

    Fabulous website and easy to navigate. A good example for States. In the last five years, there has been a progression, with the way calls are answered and too how the SS offices are operating. Need more outreach workers to answer benefit questions. Not volunteers, but people who know Medicare inside and out.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Darlene, we appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for your comment!

    • Ray F.

      We appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for your comment, Darlene!

  6. Roberta j.

    Hello I just received my updated statement for 2018 . I am confused a 2% Cola increase. An increase in part B. Which leaves me with a decrease of $11.00 in social security check. I am still working as senior and was originally disabled now over 70 yrs. Can you please explain why i am getting less money with a 2% Cola increase.

    • Ray F.

      Unfortunately and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot answer your question at this time. One of our representatives should be able to provide you with an explanation and answer your questions. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  7. Roberta j.

    Hello I just received my updated statement for 2018 . I am confused a 2% Cola increase. An increase in part B. Which leaves me with a decrease of $11.00 in social security check. I am still working as senior and was originally disabled now over 70 yrs. Can you please explain why i am getting less money with a 2% Cola increase.

  8. N. B.

    Social Security benefits are based on earnings that have already been taxed. Are SSec earnings taxed?

    • Ray F.

      Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits. See our Benefits Planner: “Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefits” for more information. Thanks!

  9. Darrel B.

    All I have and want to say is why social security didn’t start an account for EACH PERSON when they were BORN thus we could retire earlier rather than be stupid and work until for me 67 yrs old for crying out loud.. 62 years old should be the norm to get our maximum social security that we worked all our lives or at least most of us and not those on welfare.
    Doesn’t it make sense to start an account for EACH PERSON WHEN THEY ARE BORN RATHER THAN POOL IT?? Not everyone lives to their retirement age or even 62. The past POTUS MUSLIM OBAMA really screwed things up by not vetting these samolians/muslims who have come over most of his POTUS years from 2008 to 2016 and me living in North Dakota and Minnesota to see these people literally getting special privileges before anyone else who has a resume and job experience hired on because some company gets a kick back for hiring them and what is funny is 99% of these muslims aren’t worth a shit.. They can go and pray 7 times a day which causes productivity to go down and that is alright??? but those Christians can’t take time out to PRAY, if they were to they would get FIRED??? How fucked up MUSLIM OBAMA has made this COUNTRY by not putting a stop to the RACE WAR which being a NIGGER he could have made history but rather he tried destroying the UNITED STATES and destroying our MILITARY… Sends JOHN KERRY over to NORTH KOREA for how many years to talk to fat boy KIM which was a waste of our tax dollars, hell fat boy kim was making his rockets as we can see what is going on now but we have to be THANKFUL Hillary ROTTEN CUNTIN didn’t get elected… THANKYOU PRESIDENT TRUMP FOR MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

  10. EUNICE W.

    when is the last date in order for me to apply retirement beneficial monthly payment.
    DOB: APRIL 1 1948

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Eunice. Eligible individuals can start receiving retirement benefits as early as age 62, but if you decide to start to receive benefits after your full retirement age may result in larger benefits. You earn delayed retirement credits automatically when and if you delay getting your benefit up until age 70. The benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.
      Also, keep in mind that if you work and are full retirement age or older, the amount you make at work will not affect your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn.
      Please bear in mind that the decision on when to apply for benefits is a personal one. We can only provide you with the information to help you make the best choice according to your own situation.
      To help you plan, you can use our online calculators. Also, you can create a my Social Security account to verify your earnings, and get a copy of your Social Security Statement.
      Our system is set up to take applications three months in advance, and when you’re ready, you can apply for your benefits online. If you need further assistance call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask to speak with one of our representatives, who are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We hope this information helps!

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