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Will my Social Security payment increase if I keep working after I start receiving benefits?

It all depends on how much you’re making and how much you’ve made over your working life.

Social Security uses your lifetime average for monthly income, as calculated from your 35 highest-earning years and adjusted to reflect historical wage trends, as the basis for your benefit calculation. Even if you’ve already claimed your benefits, Social Security annually recalculates this average, factoring in any new income. If your current earnings fall into your top 35 earning years, your monthly average will rise, and so could your benefit.

Keep in mind

  • Continuing to work may have a benefit downside if you claimed Social Security early. In the years before you reach full retirement age (currently 66 and gradually rising to 67), you are subject to Social Security’s earnings test, which reduces your benefits if your income from work exceeds a set limit ($17,640 in 2019). In the year in which you will reach full retirement age, the cap goes up, and when you pass the milestone birthday, it disappears.

Published October 10, 2018

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