For your entire working life, you’ve been contributing to Social Security. Don’t let the money you’ve earned over all of these years go to waste. Maximize your benefits and reclaim the money you’ve paid over your lifetime. Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your Social Security benefits.

Check for errors

The easiest way to miss out on your hard-earned Social Security money is by having incorrect information in their system. You’ll want to make sure you have all of the correct information in the system regarding your taxes and past earnings. Check your statements regularly to make sure the system hasn’t reduced payment in error.

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Put in your time

The longer your career, the more opportunity you have to maximize benefits. If you’ve been working for most of your adult life and paying into the system, your benefits will be calculated by the 35 years with the highest earnings. The more years you work, the more benefits you’re eligible to receive.

Earn more dough

Goumbik / PixabaySince Social Security benefits are based on your highest earning 35 years, the more you make in those years, the more you’ll receive. The limit for earnings payouts is $128,400 per year. Keep in mind that even if your highest earning years are only for a limited time, those can add up. Years you didn’t earn will also negatively impact your benefits calculations.

Delay your claim

If you’re healthy and able to work, after you turn 66 or 67, it might pay off to delay your claim. Depending on when your birthday is, the legal retirement age to claim social security is 66 or 67 years old. For every year you wait past then your benefits increase 8% until age 70.

Take advantage of being married

If your spouse earned more than you, you’re able to receive Social Security benefits up to 50% of theirs. This is definitely something to take advantage of if your spouse has earned more than you. If you’ve earned more, make sure your spouse uses the benefit as well. The other person’s benefits payments aren’t affected by using this program. As long as you’ve been married for over 10 years, a divorce also won’t affect you collecting spousal benefits.