Social Security

ByTroy Davis

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To qualify for Social Security, you need to accumulate 40 work credits, which works out to about 10 years of work. Once you’ve accumulated the credits you need, you can begin collecting benefits as young as age 62 or wait as late as age 70. You’ll only receive 100% of your benefit amount, however, if you claim at your full retirement age. If you claim earlier than that, your benefit check will be reduced, but if you claim later than that you’ll get a bonus equal to 8% per year you delay.


Social Security is intended to supplement a retiree’s income, but because many Americans have limited retirement savings, it often ends up as the major source of income in retirement. For this reason, getting the most you can from Social Security is important.

While it would be nice to get the maximum amount paid by Social Security, most Americans wind up collecting between $700 and $1,800 per month. If you want to receive the biggest monthly check possible from Social Security, then you’ll need to maximize your earnings while working and then delay collecting benefits until age 70 to benefit from delayed retirement credits.

Alternatively, if your goal is to collect the most in lifetime benefits possible, then you need to consider your health. If longevity runs in your family, waiting until you’re age 70 to claim can produce the most in lifetime Social Security benefits if you live a long life. However, if you are in poor health, then claiming earlier may be wise.

If you haven’t worked the maximum 35 years used by Social Security to calculate benefits or have a lot of low-income earning years in your past, then continue to work later in life also can make sense.

When you have less than 35 years of work history, Social Security uses zeros in its calculation for determining average monthly benefits. Replacing those zeros on your record can give your primary insurance amount a boost. Similarly, if you earn more now than you did in the past, continuing to work so that you replace lower-income years on your work record can also increase your benefit.

This strategy can be used even if you’re collecting Social Security because Social Security recalculates your primary insurance amount to take into consideration changes in your work record every year. However, if you’re younger than full retirement age, working, and collecting Social Security, some of your benefit can be withheld until you reach full retirement age because of the Social Security’s earnings test.

To learn more about Social Security, retirement, or planning for your retirement please contact Davis Capital Management’s office. We are happy to discuss what retirement opportunities may be available to you and answer any questions you may have about Social Security.


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