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dylatess, ATTORNEY
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3441
Experience:  37 plus years of SSD practice
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Can I increase my benefits after I begin receiving payments

Customer Question

Can I increase my benefits after I begin receiving payments if I have some years of earnings greater than some of the base years used to calculate my benefits?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

If your current earnings are higher than earnings used to calculate your benefits, SSA should automatically update the benefits. But there are other factor to consider. Did you apply for your benefits before your full retirement age? Are you currently at full retirement age? What were your last year earnings?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I began receiving benefits at age 63 in 1999. during the past 12 years I have earned $26,000.00 each year. There has been no increase in benefits except annual cola.
Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

Ok. According to my calculation, you are 80. What type of earnings did you have in last 12 years? Not all type of earnings will increase your benefits.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had w-2 wages those 12 years.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am not sure my last info was sent. I had W-2 wages the past 12 years.
Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

W2 wages are type of earnings that may increase your benefits.

Only your 35 highest-earning years (adjusting for inflation) count, so continuing to work won't boost your benefits unless it increases your average income for the highest-earnings years.

The key word here is "adjusting for inflation". Making 26K in 1980 is not the same as making 26K in 2015. SSA uses equivalents to calculate your benefits. Which means if you made 26K in 1980, the current equivalent would be much higher.

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

There are also limits how much of the earnings are used to calculate your benefits. For instance in 1951 the limit was 3.600, in 2016 the limit is 118,000.

Log on into your online social security account and check that all earnings had been recorded. You can also make an appointment at your local office, have an agent access your records and make sure that everything is recorded. She can also show you how your benefits have been calculated and what may be the reason why you do not see any increase in your benefits.

Expert:  emc011075 replied 1 year ago.

What I am trying to say is that SSA use a complex formula to calculate your benefits and unfortunately it is not as simple as "replacing" one year with another.

Any questions?