Computing retirement: what is the maximum 2014 SSA retirement amount?

For the last several years, I have published the maximum Social Security retirement amount payable to a person retiring during the coming year. The topic generates a lot of interest so today I am providing the maximum Social Security retirement monthly amount payable to a person retiring at full retirement age (FRA) in 2014. Full retirement age is 66 for people born in 1943 – 1954.

The maximum monthly Social Security retirement amount changes each year. The 2014 maximum is more than the 2013 maximum, but will be less than the 2015 amount. Several reasons are responsible for this with a major one being that different years of earnings become available to include in the retirement calculation. 

With each new calendar year, a year of potentially higher earnings becomes available for use in computing retirement benefits. Not only might actual earnings be higher but, depending on the maximum taxable earnings base for that year, more of the earnings could be credited for use in the Social Security computation.

An early step in determining a retirement amount is to compute the person’s amount at full retirement age, without reductions or additions. To do this, Social Security uses the person’s best 35 years of earnings, weighted for inflation.

To compute the benefit at the person’s actual retirement date, Social Security adjusts the full retirement age amount by the number of months that the person is away from FRA. The amount is reduced if the person is younger than FRA, or increased if older than full retirement age.

If starting Social Security retirement in 2014 exactly at full retirement age, and if the person earned at least the maximum SSA taxable earnings (the taxable base) in each of the 35 years used in the calculation, then the highest 2014 Social Security retirement amount is $2,642 per month.

For comparison, the highest 2013 Social Security retirement amount was $2,533 per month.

Knowing the highest 2014 Social Security retirement amount is interesting. Estimating your own retirement amount is more useful. Do so with the calculators included in the SSA Retirement Planner. The Retirement Estimator will be especially useful.

The Retirement Estimator provides an estimate from your actual Social Security earnings record. Estimates are automatically provided for you at age 62, your full retirement age, and age 70. You can use the Estimator to obtain other estimates for different ages or annual earnings amounts.

Other SSA online calculators are available for you too. To estimate by the number of months that you are away from FRA when starting retirement benefits, use the “Compute the effect of early or delayedretirement” calculator. This calculator uses the terms primary insurance amount, which is the same as amount at full retirement age, and normal retirement age, which is the same as FRA.  

Want to see your earnings as recorded on your Social Security record? Create a personal my Social Security account and view your online Social Security Statement. The Statement provides a list of your lifetime earnings, plus family estimates for SSA retirement, survivors and disability benefits.

Ready to file for your Social Security retirement? Go online.

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