How to Increase Your Social Security Benefit by $1,033 Per Month

Increasing your Social Security benefits by $1,033 per month involves a strategic decision about when to claim benefits. Delaying your claim from age 62 to 70 can significantly boost your monthly income, but this decision depends on your health, financial situation, and long-term plans.

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By CRPIT Editor

How to Increase Your Social Security Benefit: Social Security benefits are a vital source of income for many retirees. Since these benefits are based on your lifetime earnings and contributions to the program, increasing them beyond the annual Cost of Living Adjustments can be challenging. However, patience can significantly impact your benefit amount. Deciding when to claim your benefits is a complex decision influenced by your work history, financial situation, health, and responsibilities toward loved ones.

How to Increase Your Social Security Benefit by $1,033 Per Month

Timing is Everything

Basics of Claiming

Your decision on when to claim Social Security benefits directly affects the amount you receive each month. As of March 2024, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers was $1,913.31. You can start claiming benefits as early as age 62 or delay them until age 70.

Claiming benefits at age 62 reduces your monthly payments by about 30% compared to waiting until your full retirement age (FRA), which is 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Conversely, delaying your claim past your FRA up until age 70 increases your benefit by 8% annually.

Impact of Delaying Benefits

Let’s break this down with a practical example. If you are entitled to the average benefit of $1,913.31 at an FRA of 67, claiming at age 62 would reduce your monthly payment to $1,339.32. However, if you wait until age 70, your monthly benefit would increase to $2,372.50. Therefore, by delaying your claim until age 70 instead of 62, you gain an additional $1,033 per month throughout your retirement.

Age of ClaimingMonthly Benefit
62$1,339.32
67 (FRA)$1,913.31
70$2,372.50

Deciding When to Claim

Health Considerations

If you know your health will not allow you to work past age 62, claiming benefits early might be the best option. The Social Security system allows for early claims for a reason, so use it if you need it. Continuing to work when your health is declining can have long-lasting negative consequences, making any additional income from working less beneficial.

Financial Situation

If you’re planning a new business venture, dislike your job, or simply need some income to tide you over, claiming benefits early might provide peace of mind. It can serve as a safety net while you continue working or figure out your next steps. Conversely, if you are in good health, want to keep working, have little savings, or haven’t considered stopping, delaying your claim can significantly boost your retirement income.

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Financial Planning

Delaying your Social Security claim can result in a higher lifetime payout if you live longer. This is particularly beneficial if you expect to live beyond 80 years. Having more Social Security income can help minimize the risk of depleting your savings. However, it’s essential to note that even if you wait until age 70, there’s no guarantee your benefit increase will exactly be $1,033 per month—it could be more or less depending on your wage history.

Practical Tips to Maximize Benefits

  1. Work Longer: The more years you work, the higher your benefit will be, as Social Security calculates your benefit based on your highest 35 years of earnings.
  2. Increase Earnings: Aim to increase your earnings as much as possible, especially in the years leading up to retirement.
  3. Check Your Earnings Record: Ensure your earnings record is accurate by reviewing your Social Security statement annually.
  4. Consider Spousal Benefits: If you are married, coordinating benefits with your spouse can help maximize your combined income.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with Social Security rules and regulations, as they can change and impact your benefits.

FAQs

How does claiming Social Security early affect my benefits?

Claiming Social Security at age 62 reduces your monthly benefits by about 30% compared to waiting until your full retirement age.

What is the full retirement age for Social Security benefits?

For those born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67.

Can I increase my Social Security benefits by continuing to work?

Yes, continuing to work and delaying your claim until age 70 can increase your benefits by 8% annually after reaching your full retirement age.

What factors should I consider before delaying my Social Security claim?

Consider your health, financial situation, work plans, and life expectancy before deciding to delay your Social Security claim.

Is the benefit increase guaranteed if I delay my Social Security claim until age 70?

The exact increase depends on your wage history and other factors, so while delaying typically results in higher benefits, the amount can vary.

Conclusion

Increasing your Social Security benefit by waiting to claim requires careful consideration of your health, financial needs, and long-term plans. Weighing these factors can help you make the best decision for a comfortable and secure retirement. Remember, every individual’s situation is unique, so what works for one person might not work for another. Stay informed, plan carefully, and make the best decision for your circumstances.

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