Apply for social security in 2022? Here is your maximum benefit at full retirement age

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In 2022, the maximum benefit for seniors claiming Social Security at full retirement age will be $ 3,345.

However, there are a few key things you need to do to earn so much Social Security income. Here is what you need to do.

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Three Steps to Earning Maximum Social Security Benefits

In order to earn the maximum Social Security benefits at full retirement age, here is what you need to do:

  • Apply for benefits when you reach full retirement age. This is the age at which you receive your standard benefit and it depends on your date of birth. From 2022, FRA is between 66 and four months and 67. For anyone born in 1956, FRA is 66 and four months. The FRA increases by two months for each subsequent year of birth, until everyone born in 1960 or later has an FRA of 67. If you apply for benefits before that date, you will be subject to early reporting penalties. and will not be able to maximize your income.
  • Work for at least 35 years. Your full retirement benefit is based on a percentage of the average salary over the 35 most earning years. Anyone who has not worked for at least 35 years ends up with a reduced benefit due to $ 0 years of salary included in the calculation of their average career salary. You will not be able to get the maximum Social Security income if you reduce your average salary because of a short work history.
  • Earn income at or above the basic salary limit for a full 35 years. Each year there is a maximum taxable salary called the base salary limit. You pay Social Security taxes on every dollar of income earned up to that maximum and income up to the basic salary limit is included in your career average salary on which the benefits are based. Income above that isn’t taxed and you don’t get credit for it, so it can’t increase your average salary or benefits. The base salary limit in 2021 is $ 142,800 and the base salary limit in 2022 is $ 147,000. Unless you have earned the inflation-adjusted equivalent for at least 35 years in your employment history, the maximum benefit is not within your reach.

Completing all three of these steps is difficult, but if you do, then you will be well on your way to receiving the maximum Social Security benefit at full retirement age. This maximum benefit of $ 3,345 is more than double the average Social Security benefit of $ 1,657 for all retirees in 2022.

It’s still not the absolute maximum you can get, however. The absolute maximum Social Security benefit in 2022 is $ 4,194. This amount is higher because retirees who wait until after FRA to start their checks get an increase in benefits for each month they delay until age 70. By deferring their request, retirees earn deferred retirement credits worth 2/3 of 1% per month. and result in an annual increase in benefits of 8% for each year of delay.

Knowing the maximum benefit at full retirement age and at age 70 is helpful in getting an idea of ​​what Social Security has to offer. But since there is a good chance that your benefits will be less than this amount, you need to be prepared for the amount of income you will actually get. Social Security is designed to replace around 40% of pre-retirement wages, and older people will need savings to supplement it in order to be comfortable in their retirement years.


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