Can I Increase My Benefit Rate If I Continue Working Past Age 70?

Jan 11 2019 - 10:44am

Hello, Larry.
I am wondering if a worker's social security benefits increase beyond age 70. Do earnings after age 70 figure into the benefits calculations? I was a stay-at-home mom for a number of years during which time I had zero income of my own and am curious as to if it is too late to increase my SS benefit. I will turn 66 this year.

Hi,

Yes, earnings that occur after age 70 can be used to calculate your Social Security retirement benefit rate. Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings on which they paid Social Security taxes, regardless of the person's age at the time they had the earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf).

However, you would not want to delay claiming your retirement benefits past age 70, because delayed retirement credits (DRC) can't be accrued starting with the month that a person reaches age 70. If you're already drawing your benefits and you subsequently have earnings that would be among your highest 35 wage-indexed earnings years, Social Security would recalculate your benefit rate effective with your payment for January of the year following the year in which you had the earnings.

You may want to strongly consider using our software to do your Social Security planning. The software would allow you to enter projected future earnings so that you could determine the effect that those earnings would have on your benefit rate.

Best, Jerry