How Can I Increase My Social Security Benefit Rate?

Jan 18 2017 - 4:30pm

How can I increase my SS payments now? I am 65 in 2016 and want to retire at 66, next year.
Can I prepay additional dollars to Social Security? Right now if I retire next year at 66yr my monthly payment would be $2,030.00/month
I am still working , make $60K this year. Divorced, after 20yrs, ex husband died in 1997, no small children.

How much can I make and not effect my social security next year , if I start SS payments?

Hi,

You can't voluntarily pay extra Social Security taxes. However, if you continue to work and earn $60K per year, your retirement benefit rate will almost certainly increase to some extent. Social Security retirement benefits are based on a person's highest 35 years of wage-adjusted earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf), and you can replace your lowest years with higher current and future earnings.

There isn't any limit on earnings beginning with the month you turn age 66, and you can earn up to $44,880 in the months prior to that without losing any benefits to the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Since you were married for more than 10 years and your ex-spouse is deceased, you may qualify for surviving divorced spousal benefits. If so, it may be advantageous to file for surviving divorced spousal benefits first, and then switch to your own record at age 70. The best strategy depends on your potential benefit rates, so you may want to run the maximization software available on this website in order to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry