Will Working Longer Increase My Social Security Benefits?

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By on July 12, 2017 in Pay & Benefits, Q&A with 0 Comments

close-up of hand with pen and eyeglasses over social security benefits application form

Q.  Will working longer increase my Social Security benefits?

A.  Up to a point, yes. Social Security benefits are based on your highest 35 inflation-indexed years of covered earnings.  If you have less than 35 years of covered earnings, Social Security will include as many years of zero earnings as are necessary to bring the total years up to 35, so:

  • If you have less than 35 years of Social Security covered earnings, working longer will increase your Social Security benefit.  Many retirees who are CSRS (like me), CSRS Offset, or who transferred to FERS will have less than 35 years of covered earnings.
  • Even if you have 35 or more years of covered earnings, if your later earnings years are higher than earlier years on an inflation-indexed basis, your benefit will increase because the later, higher earnings, years replace earlier, lower earnings, years in the calculation.

This answer appears in my book, The Answer Book on Your Federal Employee Benefits, published by LRP Publications.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at [email protected] to discuss schedules and costs.

© 2019 John Grobe. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from John Grobe.


About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.