$3,822 – Maximum monthly Social Security benefit for someone who claims benefits at full retirement age in 2024. Someone who claims at age 62 in 2024 would only be eligible for a maximum of $2,710, while a claimant who delayed to age 70 could receive a maximum of $4,873. To receive the maximum benefit, you must earn the maximum income subject to Social Security tax for each of your 35 highest-earning years. This is indexed for inflation and has ranged from $25,900 in 1980 to $168,600 in 2024.
Source: Social Security Administration, 2023
Social Security can play an important role in funding retirement, but it was never intended to be the only source of retirement income. The Social Security benefit formula is based on a worker’s 35 highest-earning years (indexed for inflation), and the percentage of pre-retirement income replaced by the benefit is lower for those with higher earnings, reflecting the assumption that higher earners can fund retirement from other sources.
Here are replacement rates — based on five levels of earnings — for someone who claims benefits at full retirement age (FRA) in 2024 (i.e., born in 1958 and claiming at age 66 and 8 months). Rates would be similar for those who claim at FRA in other years.
Source: Social Security Administration, 2023 (Rates are based on scheduled benefits under current law and may be significantly lower in the future if Congress does not address the Social Security shortfall.)
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