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If you are retired, you probably rely on your Social Security income to live. Yet the size of your Social Security payments will vary depending on how much you earn while you are working and when you sign up for your Social Security. You will also get a varied amount based on whether or not you are married, have children, or are a surviving spouse. If you want to get the maximum amount of Social Security, you need to work for more than 35 years. When calculating your Social Security, the administration looks at the 35 years you have been employed and averages your wages. If you haven’t worked for 35 years, then zeros will be placed in that calculation, which can reduce your payments.

Also, the higher your income while working, the higher your Social Security payments may be. US News suggests that t is worth it to take a second job or ask for a raise if you want to get an increased about of money in the future. If you are seeking this money, you should also wait to apply until you are at the full retirement age. This means that you must be about 66 or 67. Baby boomers can apply at 66, while those born before 1960 must be 67. If you sign up before your full retirement age, your monthly payments will be permanently reduced. If you retire and still have a few years before you are eligible for Social Security at full retirement age, you might want to use your savings during this time and wait to receive your payments.

When you claim, you should make sure to claim spousal payments and family in order to get more money. If you have dependent children, your Social Security may go up significantly. As well, if you are married and on a dual-income household, then claim Social Security twice to get even more money. You may also be able to claim on an ex-spouse’s record if this situation applies to you. With such a variety of options, make sure to explore how to get the most out of your Social Security payments. This will in turn help you to reduce any debt you have and avoid having to refinance or claim bankruptcy in the future.