For the last several years, I have published the maximum monthly Social Security retirement amount payable during the coming year. This generates a lot of interest so today I am providing the 2015 amount.
To be clear, this will be the maximum amount payable to a person retiring exactly at full retirement age (FRA) in 2015. Full retirement age is 66 for people born in 1943 – 1954. It does not include reductions for early retirement or increases for delaying retirement past past full retirement age. Learn about these increases, called delayed retirement credits, here.
The maximum monthly Social Security retirement amount changes each year. The 2015 maximum is more than the 2014 maximum, but will be less than the 2016 amount. Several reasons are responsible for this with a major one being that another year of potentially higher earnings becomes available for use in computing retirement amounts. 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 increases. To do this, Social Security uses the person’s best 35 years of earnings, weighted for inflation. Then, to compute the amount for 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 FRA amount is reduced or increased if the person is younger or older than FRA.
So, what is the maximum 2015 Social Security retirement amount? If starting Social Security retirement in 2015 exactly when full retirement age is reached, 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 2015 Social Security retirement amount is $2,663 per month. For comparison, the highest 2014 Social Security retirement amount is $2,642 per month. The estimated average SSA retirement amount as of January 2015 is $1,328 per month.
Knowing the highest 2015 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 is very good because it uses your actual Social Security earnings record. Automatic estimates are shown for age 62, your full retirement age, and age 70. You can adjust these for different ages or different future earnings.
To adjust your estimate by the number of months that you are away from FRA use the “Compute the effect of early or delayed retirement” calculator. There, primary insurance amount is the same as amount at full retirement age, and normal retirement age is the same as FRA.
Want to see the earnings on your Social Security record? Create a personal my Social Security account and view your online Social Security Statement. The Statement provides your earnings record, plus family estimates for SSA retirement, survivors and disability benefits.
Ready to file for your Social Security retirement? Go online.