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Maximizing your Social Security income should be a key part of your retirement plan. As Americans often enjoy longer retirements, the guaranteed lifetime income for Social Security is an even more important part of maintaining your financial security as you age. With a record Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2023, the maximum Social Security benefits will increase again next year.

2022 Maximum Social Security

Your Social Security benefits are based on your work history and the age at which you choose to begin benefits. If you start receiving Social Security at your full retirement age in 2022, you could receive a maximum Social Security benefit of $3,345 per month.

If you are fortunate to have retired earlier, your retirement benefits will be less. The earliest you can claim Social Security retirement income is age 62. At age 62, the maximum Social Security benefit is $2,364 (a drop of about 30%).

The latest you can wait before you must begin to receive Social Security benefits is age 70. Waiting to receive benefits can significantly increase your monthly income. In 2022, the maximum Social Security benefit at age 70 is $4,194.

The vast majority of retirees receive much less from Social Security than the above numbers you just saw. According to the Social Security Administration, the average Social Security check was $1,542.22 as of June 2022.

Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment For 2023

The Social Security Administration recently announced the annual cost-of-living increase will be 8.7% for 2023. This increase will translate into a larger maximum Social Security benefit in 2023 and beyond.

2023 Maximum Social Security Benefits

With the Social Security COLA of 8.7% for 2023, the new maximum Social Security numbers are going up next year. For those claiming benefits at age 62, the maximum Social Security benefit per month should be about $2,570. If you wait until your Full Retirement Age, your maximum Social Security benefit in 2023 will be about $3,636 per month. Waiting from 62 to full retirement age increases your amount by around 30% per month.


For those who are either patient, looking to get the maximum Social Security benefits, or perhaps, just working a bit longer, waiting until age 70 will result in the biggest possible Social Security benefit. The maximum Social Security benefit at age 70 will be about $4,559 per month. While earning almost $55,000 per year from Social Security may sound fantastic, if you qualify for the maximum Social Security benefit, this is likely only replacing a small portion of your pre-retirement income.

How Will My Social Security Benefits Be Calculated?

Your Social Security benefits are based on your 35 highest-earning years of employment. There are a few adjustments made to account for inflation. If you have worked less than the requisite 35 years, you will likely see lower Social Security benefits in retirement.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculated your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or AIME to determine your final Social Benefits. The AIME is computed by dividing the sum of all your indexed wages by 420. Eventually, your actual Social Security benefit amount is calculated based on various factors, such as the age at which you start collecting benefits. Remember, the SSA will lower your benefits if you start taking them before full retirement age.

How Can I Get My Social Security Estimated Benefits?

Even if you are a long way from retiring, getting an estimate of your future Social Security benefits can be helpful. For those closer to full retirement age, you will likely want to check your Social Security benefits annually. You can register to view your official Social Security work history and estimated future Social Security benefits on the SSA site. Setting up an account is free.


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