Three Common Ways Your Social Security Payment Can Grow After Retirement

June 21, 2018 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: June 21, 2018

woman planting flowers You made the choice and now you are happily retired. You filed online for your Social Security benefits. They arrive each month in the correct amount exactly as expected. But, did you ever wonder if your Social Security check could increase?

Once you begin receiving benefits, there are three common ways benefit checks can increase: a cost of living adjustment (COLA); additional work; or an adjustment at full retirement age if you received reduced benefits and exceeded the earnings limit.

The COLA is the most commonly known increase for Social Security payments. We annually announce a COLA, and there’s usually an increase in the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit amount people receive each month. By law, federal benefit rates increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). More than 66 million Americans saw a 2.0 percent increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2018. For more information on the 2018 COLA, visit our website.

Social Security uses your highest thirty-five years of earnings to figure your benefit amount when you sign up for benefits. If you work after you begin receiving benefits, your additional earnings may increase your payment. If you had fewer than 35 years of earnings when we figured your benefit, you will replace a zero earnings year with new earnings. If you had 35 years or more, we will check to see if your new year of earnings is higher than the lowest of the 35 years (after considering indexing). We check additional earnings each year you work while receiving Social Security. If an increase is due, we send a notice and pay a one-time check for the increase and your continuing payment will be higher.

Maybe you chose to receive reduced Social Security retirement benefits while continuing to work. You made the choice to take benefits early, but at a reduced rate. If you exceeded the allowable earnings limit and had some of your benefits withheld, we will adjust your benefit once you reach full retirement age. We will refigure your payment to credit you for any months you did not receive payments.  Your monthly benefit will increase based on the crediting months you receive. You can find additional information about working and your benefit by reading What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits.

Retirement just got more interesting since you learned about potential increases to monthly payments. Social Security has been securing your today and tomorrow for more than 80 years with information and tools to help you achieve a successful retirement.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Tags: ,

See Comments

About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Robert P.

    i’m 72. I retired at 62 and still worked till September 2019. can I get more benefits . I am losing my job as of sept1st 2019.

    • K.O.

      Hello Robert. Each year we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if their additional earnings may increase their monthly benefits. If your earnings for the prior year are higher than one of the years we used to compute your retirement benefit, we will recalculate your benefit amount. Generally, we will send a letter explaining any increase in your benefit amount. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. Please call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or contact your local office directly for further assistance. To learn more read our publication, How Work Affects Your Benefits. We hope this helps.

  2. THE D.

    what are phone numbers to call?

  3. Robert R.

    I’ve retired a year ago and collecting social security every month. Going back to work part time, do they still take out social security from my paycheck?

    • L.A.

      Hi Robert. Thank you for your question. Everyone working in a job (or self-employment) that is covered by Social Security, whether or not the person is receiving Social Security benefits, must pay Social Security taxes. Also, you will have to pay Federal taxes on your Social Security benefits if you file a Federal tax return as a person filing taxes as single and your total income is more than $25,000. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040 or you can visit its website. We hope this helps.

  4. Doree L.

    Because I was not savy in watching my earnings could you please check my earnings for SS payment. Name is Doree Lynch, retired in July, 2010. SS # is xxx-xx-4652.

    • L.A.

      Hi Doree. If you are not receiving Social Security benefits yet, you can access our benefits estimator to get an estimate of your future benefits. You may also review your Social Security Statement online at any time by creating a personal my Social Security account at With a my Social Security account, you can review estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits, your earnings record, and the estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid. We hope this helps.

  5. John P.

    I retired in October 2018 so my income has been reduced to 0 so my MAGI will change. Also, because of my past income, the part B IRMMA that I have been charged should also be reduced considerably.

    What form do I need to fill out to make this correction?

    • A.C.

      Hi, John. 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.

  6. Betty

    can i switch from spousal benefits to disability benefits and will i receive more from disability benefits than i do from spousal benefits. and will my spouse’s benefits go up if i don’t receive spousal benefits

  7. Dorothy H.

    I will be 66 October 29. 2019 when do I apply for Social Security

  8. Brandon J.

    Hi, I have been on SSDI now for just a little over 2 years and am finding it very hard to manage my life especially since I have started on Medicare and the added expenses of health care. Is there anything you can do to help increase the amount of money coming to me? I want to pay off some of the bills that I incurred before going on disability. Anything you can do will be appreciated.
    Thank you, Brandon Adams

  9. Natalie C.

    Sir, I’m still working PT since 1996 after I got laid off. I am 77 and still pay Medicare and SS benefits. I do not get a big raise ! I have a tight budget without a help!

  10. donald c.

    retired a 62 years old can i get more money at 71

Comments are closed.