Six Speedy Ways to Increase Your Social Security Benefits (Part 2 of 2)

Increase social security benefits



Make it Easy on Yourself with These Quick Tips


This is the second part of a two part series on quick ways to increase your Social Security benefits. If you are adverse to using complex planning scenarios or computer programs this series provides six quick strategies to increase your monthly Social Security benefits. After seeing which Social Security Benefit strategy works best, you may want to compare strategies or fine tune your approach by using a Social Security Calculator at

4. Wait Longer to Apply for Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on date of birth) if you delay claiming your retirement benefits beyond Full-Retirement Age (FRA). The chart below indicates the yearly and monthly rate of increase by year of birth. For example, If you were born in 1948, your FRA is 66. If you work until 70 you will receive 32 percent more than your base FRA benefit. That is, let say your FRA benefit is  $1,000 your do not apply for benefits until age 70. You FRA benefit with Delayed Retirement Credits (DRCs) will be $1,320 per month [$1,000 + (4 X 8 percent = 32 percent X $1,00)] = $1,320.

Increase for Delayed Retirement

Year of Birth*

Yearly Rate of Increase

Monthly Rate of Increase



11/24 of 1%



1/2 of 1%



13/24 of 1%



7/12 of 1%



5/8 of 1%

1943 or later


2/3 of 1%

Note: If you were born on January 1st, you should refer to the rate of increase for the previous year.

The benefit increase is not compounded and increases no long apply after the age of 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits. If you’ve already reached full-retirement age, you can choose to start receiving benefits before the month you apply. However, the Social Security Administration cannot pay retroactive benefits for any month before you reached FRA or more than 6-months in the past.

Here’s An Important Point: If you decide to delay your retirement, be sure to enroll in Medicate at age 65. For more information see If you do not enroll, your Medicate coverage may be delayed and cost more.

5. Take advantage of Spousal Benefits with File and Suspend

If you and your current spouse are FRA, one of you can apply for retirement benefits now and have the payments suspended, while the other applies only for spousal benefits (for more information see This approach allows for both individuals to delay receiving retirement benefits on their own earnings records and paves the way for both individuals to receive Delayed Retirement Credits (see above for details).

If you are already entitled to benefits you can Suspend current or future retirement benefit payments up to age 70 beginning the month after the month when you made the request. (Remember, the SSA pays benefits the month after they are due.) You do not have to sign your request to Suspend benefits, you can ask the SSA orally or in writing. (However, I would make certain you have a receipt of your request. You want to make certain that you will receive your DRCs.)

Let’s stay that you started to receive benefits less than 12-months ago and you changed your mind about when you want to start benefits. You can withdraw your Social Security Claim (called Reset Your Application) For details see . Keep in mind that this is a one time action and you will have to repay all the benefits you and your family received based on your retirement application.

6. Use Your Taxable Assets First

Some folks pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. Claimants pay taxes on their total income (investment earnings, pension payouts, wages, tax-exempt interest and half of their Social Security income). To reduce your tax liability remember that Roth IRAs are not counted as taxable income.  Withdrawals from 401(k), 403(b), IRAs and other tax-deferred accounts are included as taxable income. There may be real advantages to using your taxable accounts before you apply for Social Security benefits. This will allow those non-taxable accounts (like Roth IRAs) to increase in value.

About ksindell

Kathleen Sindell, Ph.D. is the author of numerous academic, popular, and professional finance articles, Web sites, proposals, and books. This includes the bestselling reference book, "Investing Online for Dummies, Eds 1-5" (listed for two consecutive years on the Wall Street Journal's Bestselling Business Book List). Her most recent book "Social Security: Maximize your Benefits" has been listed in Amazon's Top 100 Bestselling Retirement Planning Books. It is important to note that "Social Security: Maximize Your Benefits, 2nd Edition" was just released. Sindell has an in-depth understanding of the financial services industry and has held Series 7, 63, and 65 licenses. Dr. Sindell is regularly tapped as a financial services expert on ABC World News, The Nightly Business Report, and at popular online and print outlets. Kathleen Sindell, Ph.D. is a member of the Board of Directors for the Financial Planning Association, National Capital Area (FPA NCA), is on the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Journal of Financial Planning, and is Co-Chair of the Metro Washington Financial Planning Day. Sindell is a Course Chair II, CFP Program Academic Officer, and adjunct full-professor at the University of Maryland, UMUC, School of Undergraduate Studies. Contact Information: or 703-299-1700
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