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 from work. 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, you are subject to Social Security’s earnings test, which reduces your benefits if your income from work exceeds a set limit ($19,560 in 2022).
- In the year in which you will reach full retirement age, the earnings cap goes up, and when you pass the milestone birthday, it disappears. Full retirement age is 66 and 2 months for people born in 1955 and 66 and 4 months for those born in 1956, so people born in the last two months of '55 or the first eight months of '56 will reach it in 2022.
Updated December 22, 2021
More on Social Security and Work
Find the answers to the most common Social Security questions such as when to claim, how to maximize your retirement benefits and more.