3 steps to claim the maximum monthly Social Security benefit of $4,194 | Smart Switch: Personal Finance

(Maurie Backman)

It’s a common misconception that Social Security is all you need to retire comfortably. For most people, those benefits won’t translate into as much spending power, especially these days, with the skyrocketing costs of living due to inflation.

But while you may not be able to live comfortably on the average monthly Social Security benefit, if you are online for the maximum monthly benefit, it’s a different story. In fact, the current maximum benefit is quite generous.

The most you can collect from Social Security each month is $4,194. To be clear, most seniors receive a much smaller benefit. But if you’re itching to get that maximum benefit, here’s what to do.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Work at least 35 years

Your monthly Social Security benefit will depend on how much you earn during your most profitable 35 years in the workforce. But if you haven’t worked for at least 35 years, you can forget about collecting that maximum benefit. This is because you will factor $0 into your personal benefit equation for each year that you have no recorded earnings.

2. Maximize your earnings

Each year, a salary cap is set for Social Security, and earnings above that threshold do not count in calculating benefits. They’re also not taxed, so you keep things fair.

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