What Earnings Years Can Be Used To Calculate My Retirement Benefit?

Feb 13 2017 - 7:45am

I always read that social security benefits are based on your highest 35 years of work. Very occasionally I also read the disclaimer that this means the highest 35 years of work starting the year after you attain the age of 21. If so, that would exclude any years of work prior to age 21. When I read my earnings history it appear I paid into social security during my teen years and in ages 20-21.
So when exactly do those 35 years of work begin? Thanks for the clarification.


There is no lower or upper age limit from which your highest 35 earnings years can be chosen. Social Security will use your highest 35 years of wage-adjusted earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf) to calculate your retirement benefit rate, regardless of your age at the time you had the earnings.

Best, Jerry