The Salary You Need To Make To Get the Maximum Social Security Benefit

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There are a number of factors that affect your Social Security benefits, and your salary is just one of them. And it’s important to note that your benefit amount is not based on your last year or two in the workforce, but on your lifetime earnings, so even if you made a lot of money in your pre-retirement years, you might not get the maximum benefit amount.

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How Social Security Benefits Are Calculated

The Social Security Administration calculates an individual’s benefit amount by considering an individual’s lifetime earnings and then adjusting actual earnings to account for changes in the average wages since the year earnings were received. Your benefit is based upon the adjusted average monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most.

This average is plugged into a formula to find the “primary insurance amount” — the benefit amount you would receive at your full retirement age.

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What Salary Is Needed To Receive the Maximum Benefit?

In 2022, $147,000 is the salary needed to receive the maximum benefit. However, because the benefit is calculated based on your 35 highest-earning years, that means you’ll have to have earned an average of $147,000 (or more) during those years.

What Is the Maximum Social Security Benefit?

The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. If you retire at your full retirement age in 2022 (65 or older, depending on the year you were born), your maximum benefit would be $3,345. However, if you retire at age 62, your maximum benefit would be $2,364. If you retire at age 70, your maximum benefit would be $4,194.

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 
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