As you approach retirement, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to increase and improve your own Social Security benefit, but they still exist.
The benefit amount of the Social Security benefit for your own working record is based on a complex formula that takes the highest 35 years of your work history. Therefore, the easiest way to increase your own Social Security benefit is to maximize these 35 years.
If you are an individual who has not worked in the Social Security system for 35 years, then each additional year that you work should work positively to increase your own Social Security benefit, since you may have many $0s in the annual totals.
Alternatively, you may have had a number of years of low income. Continuing to work at a current income that surpasses previous inflation-adjusted years will be a positive step to increasing your own benefit.
It is interesting to note that Social Security continues to recalculate the Social Security benefit that you are entitled to each year even after you’ve begun taking payments from Social Security. That means, for example, that you may be age 66 and taking Social Security and working at a high income job. In addition to regular cost-of-living increases, Social Security will recalculate the benefit that is due to you based upon your highest 35 years of work up to the age of 70 (as each new year that you work may increase your highest 35 years of earnings).
Some individuals who have not yet reached the minimum requirement of 40 credits of Social Security earnings in order to have their own benefit wonder whether continuing to work in order to gain the minimum credit requirement makes sense or not. In this case you may want to compare your own benefit amount that you would get by continuing to work to the spousal benefit you would be entitled to on 50% of your spouse’s earnings record. If the 50% spousal benefit far exceeds what you would be entitled to by continuing to work and generate all 40 credits, it may not be to your advantage to continue to work just to gain your own benefit.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.