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What is the maximum Social Security benefit?

The most an individual who files a claim for Social Security retirement benefits in 2021 can receive per month is:

  • $3,895 for someone who files at age 70. 
  • $3,148 for someone who files at full retirement age (currently 66 and 2 months).
  • $2,324 for someone who files at 62.

(For context, the estimated average Social Security retirement benefit in 2021 is $1,543 a month. The average disability benefit is $1,277.)

Who is eligible for the maximum benefit? People whose earnings equaled or exceeded Social Security’s maximum taxable income — the amount of your earnings on which you pay Social Security taxes — for at least 35 years of their working lives. The maximum taxable income in 2021 is $142,800. The figure is adjusted annually based on changes in national wage levels, and thus the maximum benefit changes each year.

Keep in mind

The maximum benefit is not to be confused with the maximum family benefit. That’s the most a family can collectively receive from Social Security (including retirement, spousal, children’s, disability or survivor benefits) on one family member’s earnings record. 

Updated December 24, 2020