The average Social Security benefit for retired workers is about $1,523 per month, and while that’s not bad, you may be able to do a lot better. The secret to bigger checks lies in understanding how the Social Security Administration calculates your benefits. Leverage that knowledge by trying the three tips below so you can rake in the largest Social Security checks possible.
When calculating your benefits, the Social Security Administration looks at your income over your 35 highest-earning years. If you work fewer than 35 years, you can still qualify for Social Security as long as you’ve earned 40 credits. In 2021, one credit is defined as $1,470 in earnings, and you can earn a maximum of four credits per year. But if you work fewer than 35 years, your benefit calculation will include zero-income years, which will ultimately reduce your checks.