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 (currently 66 and 2 months 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 ($18,960 in 2021).
- In the year in which you will reach full retirement age, the cap goes up, and when you pass the milestone birthday, it disappears.
Updated December 24, 2020
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.