Social Security was never meant to fund your entire retirement, and instead should be viewed as a supplement to your income. Yet, two-thirds of Social Security recipients rely upon the benefits to supply more than half of their monthly income. If you’re one of those people who need every penny they can get in retirement, consider the following three ways to increase the size of your Social Security check.
(Note: It’s best to employ these methods before you actually retire, but in some cases if you’ve already begun claiming your benefits you can still change your situation)
Continue working. Your Social Security benefits are calculated based on your highest 35 years of income. So if you haven’t worked for 35 years, you’ll have a lot of zeros averaged into that formula. Even if you worked 35 years, you may now be at your earnings peak, So working a few more years can help you earn a larger Social Security check. You can even continue to work after claiming your benefits.
Change your mind. If you were forced to retire early – say, at age 62 – and you now regret that decision, you can withdraw your application for Social Security benefits. The catch is that you must make this decision within one year of first receiving benefits, you must repay all of the benefits you received, and you can only change your mind this way one time. This might be a good option for someone who retired before their full retirement age, and then realized they wanted or needed to go back to work. You can postpone benefits for a few more years and then retire with a larger monthly check.
Suspend benefits until age 70. If you’ve missed the one-year deadline for changing your mind, you can still suspend your benefits between full retirement age (65 or 66, depending upon your birth date) and age 70. At age 70 your monthly checks will be higher than they were at full retirement age. Of course, this strategy may only be feasible if you continue to work or have another source of income in the meantime.
This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.