Retirement

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

Comments

  1. Katherine Fedun

    I suspended my benefits in January, 2016. I was 68 years old and still working. I received a lump sum $7482 in spousal benefits during that time. I retired July 2016 and began receiving benefits. My husband was 69 and retired. SSA is saying now that I was overpaid. The agent in the SS office told us to file for that benefit. I am working on a Request for Reconsideration. How should I word the reason I do not agree? Am I entitled to this amount?

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Katherine, thanks for using our blog. Deemed filing rules do not apply to individuals that turn 62 before January 2, 2016 IF they wait until their full retirement age or later to file. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details. Hopefully this will help.

  2. Ludmila Morrissey

    I have plan to leave US for several years.That means I will have no income.
    Is there some possibility to pay dirrect to SS to keep my retirement amount on better level?

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Ludmila, thanks for using our blog. You cannot get more credits by voluntarily contributing money to Social Security. You can earn credits only by working in a job or your own business that is covered under Social Security.

      • Ludmila

        Thank you!!!

  3. Dennis Sizemore

    I was of the understanding that I would never have to communicate my s/s number in any correspondence! Is this just some kind of bullshit?

  4. Willard T Congrove

    I am 69 . Retired but still working a different job which deducts for social security . My social security check has changed very little . Q. My current income from working is about 46K . Not sure why my check has not increased more ?

  5. Cecropia Ballard

    Want to make sure that I understand. Planning to retire at 62, cancer diag. Not disability eligible. No problem. My husband has a higher ss retirement income. So I can get mine draw up to an identified max from his without effecting his benefits.

    On an aside could I still work part-time 10/15 tele therapy if I became of a mind which currently am not.

    Thank you in advance for attention to my questions and your response.

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Cecropia, thanks for using our blog. We will always pay your own retirement benefit first. If benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, keep in mind that a spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your own full retirement amount (not your reduced benefit amount). So, you are only going to receive additional spouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not a reduced benefit) is less than half of your spouse’s full retirement benefit (not a reduced benefit). For more details, check out our Benefits For Your Spouse web page.

      Check out our Receiving Benefits While Working web page for details.

  6. Maria D Munoz

    I’m Maria D Munoz DOB 04/19/1955 I would like to apply for spouse benefits Jose R Munoz 03/22/1951 Can you please help me
    thank you

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Maria, thank you for using our blog. You may be able to get spouse’s benefits but, under existing law, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, you must apply for both benefits and you’ll receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other.

      If you are unable or do not want to apply for benefits online, you can schedule an appointment by:
      •Calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778); or
      •Contacting your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  7. Linda Bessent

    My husband received disability benefits at an earlier age. He recently passed away at the age of75. . I draw social security benefits from my own work credits. He received approximately $200 more than I do. Am I entitled to the higher amount now and if so how do I apply. I can’t figure it out on line and wait time on the phone is over an hour. The local office is closed.

  8. James Chang

    Husband is age 66 and claimed SB already. Wife will be 62 in Sep 2020. Can she claim reduced spouse benefit at age 62, then switch to her own benefit at her age 70 to enhance her benefit?

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi James, thank you for your question. She may be able to get spouse’s benefits but, under existing law, if she is eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, she must apply for both benefits and will receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other.

      See our Deemed Filing For Retirement And Spouse’s Benefits FAQs web page for details.

      • James Chang

        Is the “Deemed Filing” applied to under FRA only?
        If wife has reached FRA, can she claim husband’s spousal benefit and grows her 8%/yr bonus to age 70, then switch to her own benefit? Thanks.

        • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

          Hi James. If your wife turned 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if she files at FRA or later. This means that she can file for either a spouse’s benefit or her retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. She can restrict her application to apply only for spouse’s benefits and delay filing for her own retirement in order to earn delayed retirement credits. However, if she turns age 62 on or after January 2, 2016, she is required or “deemed” to file for both her own retirement and for any benefits she may be due as a spouse, no matter what age she is when she files. Hope this helps!

  9. Marcia Cotton

    I would like to know, please, if I qualify for a “Do-Over”. I had to apply for social security at age 62 because I had to go on public assistance. Please let me know.

    Thank you.

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Marcia, thanks for using our blog. If you apply for Social Security benefits and you change your mind about when they should start, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply at a future date. However, if you change your mind 12 months or more after you became entitled to retirement benefits, you cannot withdraw your application. Also, keep in mind that you must repay all the benefits that you and your family received. For more information, go to our web page If You Change Your Mind. We hope this is helpful.

  10. James Corum

    Is there a buy back program where I can increase my monthly payments by buying back early retirement benefits?

    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi James, thank you for your question. You cannot get more credits or increase your benefit amount by voluntarily contributing money to Social Security. You can earn credits only by working in a job or your own business that is covered under Social Security. We hope this is helpful.

    • Julie weldon

      At age 70 can I continue working full time or are there penalties

Comments are closed.