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What is the highest amount of Social Security one can get?

The maximum monthly Social Security benefit depends on when you were born and when you decide to start receiving benefits. For someone who qualifies for a benefit based on their own work record (not as a spouse or survivor) and who claims benefits at their full retirement age, the maximum benefit in 2023 is $3,627 per month.

What is the full retirement age?

The full retirement age is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954. It gradually increases by 2 months each year for people born between 1955 and 1960 until reaching 67. For anyone born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age is 67.

How is the maximum benefit calculated?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates your basic benefit (known as your primary insurance amount or PIA) based on your average indexed monthly earnings over your 35 highest earning years. This basic benefit amount is then adjusted based on the age you claim benefits.

If you claim at your full retirement age, you receive 100% of your PIA. If you claim earlier, your benefit is reduced. For example, claiming at age 62 results in a benefit that’s only 70-75% of your full PIA amount. If you delay claiming past your full retirement age, you earn delayed retirement credits that increase your benefit by 8% per year up to age 70.

The maximum benefit is therefore based on someone who had maximum taxable earnings each year over a 35-year career and claims benefits at full retirement age. In 2023, that would mean 35 years of earning the maximum Social Security taxable wage base amount, which is $160,200 in 2023.

Maximum monthly benefit by year of birth

Year of Birth Full Retirement Age Maximum Monthly Benefit
1943-1954 66 $3,627
1955 66 and 2 months $3,647
1956 66 and 4 months $3,670
1957 66 and 6 months $3,694
1958 66 and 8 months $3,718
1959 66 and 10 months $3,741
1960 and later 67 $3,781

As the table shows, the maximum benefit increases slightly each year as the full retirement age rises by 2 months for people born between 1955 and 1960.

Can you get more than the maximum benefit amount?

It is possible to get more than the maximum benefit amount shown if you delay claiming past your full retirement age. Each year you wait beyond your full retirement age, your eventual monthly benefit increases by 8% (until age 70).

For example, if you were born in 1953 and have maximum taxable earnings each year for 35 years, your full monthly benefit at age 66 would be $3,627. If you waited to claim at age 70, your monthly benefit would be 132% of your full retirement age amount, or $4,788.

So by delaying 4 years past full retirement age, you can exceed the published maximum benefit for your birth year.

When do benefits peak?

Social Security benefits peak at age 70. There is no additional incentive to delay claiming beyond age 70. Your benefit will be the highest it can be based on your lifetime earnings by age 70.

At that point, you would be receiving 132% of your full retirement age benefit amount if you have maximum taxable earnings. For someone with a full retirement age of 67 in 2023, that equals $4,985 per month.

What if you don’t have maximum taxable earnings?

Very few retirees actually receive the maximum Social Security benefit each month. To get the maximum amount, you need to earn the Social Security wage base or more in each year over a 35-year period.

The average monthly Social Security benefit for retired workers in 2023 is estimated to be about $1,827. For the average worker who claims at full retirement age, total lifetime benefits are estimated around $626,036.

Your specific benefit is based on your average earnings over your career. Lower lifetime earnings will result in a lower monthly benefit amount during retirement.


The maximum Social Security benefit for someone claiming at full retirement age in 2023 is $3,627 per month. This applies to workers who earned the maximum taxable earnings subject to Social Security payroll taxes over a 35-year career.

Benefits can go higher by delaying claiming beyond full retirement age, up to $4,985 per month at age 70 in 2023. Very few retirees actually get the absolute maximum benefit because it requires maximum taxable earnings each year for 35 years.