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Your Monthly Social Security 2024 Benefits and How to Keep Them

Learn how you can lock in the maximum amount of Social Security benefits for your retirement.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Katie Teague
2 min read
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It's important to understand how much your monthly Social Security benefits add up to. 

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In 2023, the Social Security Trustees projected that Social Security's combined funds would be depleted by 2034. As of 2024, that date has been pushed back to 2035. There's the possibility that, with additional funding, the clock could be extended further.

With that in mind, you'll want to maximize your Social Security benefits while you still can. Though the amount has increased by 3.2% in 2024, there's still a cap on how much you're eligible to receive per month, depending on when you begin to receive benefits. While it's also risen this year, it's an important figure to keep in mind. 

Know that the amount you receive from Social Security is determined by your lifetime earnings. It also depends on when you decide to start receiving benefits.

We'll tell you the maximum amount you can get from Social Security each month when you retire, and how much you need to make to get there. For more, here's the Social Security payment schedule and what to know about the 2024 cost of living adjustment affecting your taxes this year.

What's the maximum amount of Social Security I can receive each month?

The maximum amount of Social Security benefits you can receive each month is based in part on when you decide to start receiving benefits. (Know that you can retire from work and delay receiving benefits till later.) For 2024, here's how the age you start receiving retirement benefits factors in.

Age 62: $2,710 monthly.

Age 65 to 67 (your full retirement benefits age): $3,822 monthly.

Age 70: $4,873 monthly.

Your full retirement benefits age depends on your date of birth. For instance, if you were born in 1960 or later, your full retirement age is 67.

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How much money do I have to make over my lifetime to get the maximum benefit amount?

Along with the age you start receiving benefits, the Social Security Administration looks at your highest 35 years of earnings to determine your benefit.

For example, in 2024, if you want to receive the maximum Social Security amount when you retire, you'll need to make at least $168,800 annually, an $8,400 increase from last year. 

The maximum taxable amount changes every year, so it'll likely be different when you retire. For instance, in 2003 (20 years ago), the taxable maximum was $87,000 and in 2022 it was $147,000. Know that income above that annual cap isn't taxed and doesn't count toward your total earnings. 

Will my Social Security maximum change when there's a COLA increase?

If there's a cost of living adjustment (or COLA, for short), you can expect to receive a monthly increase on your checks. In 2023, we saw a record increase of 8.7%, and for 2024, it increased by 3.2% due to inflation.

For more, here's why you may want to pause Social Security benefits now to get more money later.