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What is the maximum Social Security benefit?

The most an individual who filed a claim for Social Security retirement benefits in 2018 can receive per month is:

  • $3,698 for someone who filed at age 70. 
  • $2,788 for someone who filed at full retirement age (currently 66).
  • $2,158 for someone who filed at 62.

(For context, the average Social Security retirement benefit in 2018 is $1,404 a month. The average disability benefit is $1,197.)

Who is eligible for the maximum benefit? People who earned 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 2018 is $128,400; 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. 

Published October 10, 2018

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