Will My Benefit Increase If I Defer Claiming Until Age 70 Even If I Don't Have Income?

Oct 17 2017 - 7:14am

Dear Larry,
if i stop working 2 years before I turn 70 and have 0 income and then claim benefits, I assume Zero wouid be averaged into the 35 years. If I run the calculator on website when i turn 66 in 2018 my benefit is $2341/mo; at 70 it is $3164 if I were to continue earning what I earn now. I have worked 35 years as of this year.
Will my benefit increase if I defer claiming until I am 70 even if i do not have income?
thank you very much.

Hi,

Yes. Your benefit rate will increase by 2/3rds of 1% per month (i.e. 8% per year) for each month that you don't draw your retirement benefits between full retirement age and age 70. This increase is because of delayed retirement credits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html).

Your basic full retirement age rate (PIA) is calculated using an average of your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). If you stop working your PIA won't increase, but it won't go down. If you have zero earnings years between now and age 70, those years simply won't be used in the calculation of your benefit rate.

Best, Jerry