Ask Larry

Retirement Benefits

How Can I Raise My Monthly Benefit Rate?

I'm a hair stylist in my mid 60's and my social security is projected to be 1300 at 70. What can I do to get the payment as high as possible?

Hi Jackie,

There's really only two ways to increase your monthly retirement benefit rate:
1) Wait past full retirement age (FRA) to begin drawing your benefits; and,
2) Continue to earn as much annually as possible.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 07:15

Is There A Time You Should Avoid Filing?

Aloha. I am trying to help a family member who was born in 1951 and so (I think!) he qualifies for Social Security benefits when he turns 66 in August. He said that he is concerned about applying during a “rat hole” - a relatively short period of time after one qualifies during which benefits are calculated at a lower value. Do you understand the term, and is there any reason that he should not just file on schedule in August? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 06:15

Can I Re-Apply If I Think My Benefit Was Miscalculated?

If I am already collecting soc sec, and I think it was calculated wrong , can I reapply to maximize my benefit?


You can't re-apply for the same type of benefit, but you could ask for a recomputation of your benefit rate. You'll need to submit a written request to Social Security explaining why you believe that a higher rate is due. Or, if you're still within the 60 day appeal period since your claim was processed, you can request an appeal (

Saturday, April 1, 2017 - 06:15

Will I Be Penalized For Taking Benefits Before Full Retirement Age?

I am planning on taking my social security benefit in August of this year, I will turn 65. I am currently working part time. My social security benefit is estimated at around 1,403 a month. My earnings for last year were 22,645.08. Will I be penalized for working and claiming benefits before full retirement age? I can't afford to lose income , my social security will be my only income. I am married and my husband works. Also, how long does it take to get benefits once you apply? I read that you can make up to 16,940.00 before you are penalized.


Friday, March 31, 2017 - 10:30

Do We Qualify For More Benefits?

I retired mid Dec 2015 and turned 65 the end of March 2016. I started receiving SS in April 2016. My husband is 11 years older and has been receiving SS for a long while. I also receive spousal benefits. Neither of us work. I am now my husband's caregiver. We have IRAs totaling more than $27,250. Do we qualify for more?


Based solely on the information in your question, it sounds like you are already receiving as much as you can get from Social Security.

Best, Jerry

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 10:00

Can I Start Drawing Benefits 6 Months Before Turning Age 66 And Still Get My Full Retirement Age Rate?

I am turning 66 in July of 2018. Can I apply in January 2018 and receive my full retirement age benefits 6 months early in the year i turn 66?


No, you can't. If you'll earn less than $44,880 (or whatever the exempt amount of earnings is set at in 2018) in the months prior to the month you reach age 66, you could start drawing benefits effective with January. However, your benefit rate will be permanently reduced by about 3.33% if you do so.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 - 10:15

How Much Will My Wife Get If She Retires Now?

My wife wishes to retire now. She is She was 65 on Feb. 14. She has no income and will use my amount which is 19,120 a year. What will her amount be ias of April 1.
thank you


That depends on her earnings history. Social Security retirement benefits are based on an average of a person's highest 35 years of work-adjusted earnings (

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 06:30

Should I Delay Filing Until After Age 70?

I will turn 70 in December 2017. To maximize my benefit, I delayed applying for my SS benefits till age 70.
I am still working and expect to earn in 2017 more than the max SS taxable earnings cutoff ($127200)
Since I have less than 35 previous years with significant SS income, can I delay collecting until January 2018 and thereby add 2017 to the 35 years averaged for benefit calculation?
According to the online calculator, this will add $66 to my monthly benefit and will cover the lost month of benefits within 3.5 years.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 07:45

Which Party Is Right?


Getting 2 opposing views from social security regarding computation of retirement benefits.

One party states that the retirement amount (at 62 or 66) is calculated using an average of the HIGHEST SS wages for the last 35 years.

The other states use of average SS wages for the last 35 years prior to the actual retirement date.

Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 06:30
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