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Will Working After Retirement Raise My Social Security Benefit?

Q. I retired recently but need to go back to work. Will I get a higher Social Security benefit amount because I’ll be working and paying into the system?

A. Possibly. Your Social Security benefit is calculated by averaging the salaries you’ve earned in your 35 highest-paid working years. If your work history did not cover 35 years, zeros get averaged in and lower your benefit. If going back to work replaces zeros or low-earning years with higher salaries, then your benefits will go up. You can check your earnings history in the Social Security statement that is mailed every year to workers and former workers over age 25. If you don’t want to wait for that statement, you can request one online or call Social Security’s automated information line at 1-800-772-1213 to get SSA-7004, the mail-in request form.

Source: Social Security Administration

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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