In 2023, the average retiree will receive around $1,827 per month in Social Security benefits. The maximum you'll be able to collect, though, is $4,555 per month.

Exactly where your benefit amount will land depends on several factors, including your earnings history, the length of your career, and the age you file for Social Security.

Even if you're still years away from retirement, it's possible to see approximately how much you can expect to receive in benefits. Here's how.

Person sitting at a table looking at a phone.

Image source: Getty Images.

How to check your benefit amount

It's simpler than you might think to check your future benefit amount, and it only takes a few minutes.

First, you'll need to create a mySocialSecurity account, if you haven't already. Once you're logged in, you can check your online statements, which will provide an estimate of your full benefit amount based on your real earnings throughout your career.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind as you're checking your estimate:

  • Your estimate may differ from your actual benefit: Your full benefit amount is what you'll receive if you file at your full retirement age (FRA), which is between ages 66 and 67, depending on your birth year. If you end up claiming before or after that age, your actual benefit amount will differ from your online estimate.
  • Your future earnings can impact your estimate: If you plan on working for many more years, your benefit amount could change between now and retirement -- especially if your income shifts significantly.
  • You may not have an estimate just yet: To qualify for retirement benefits, you'll need to have worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years. If you haven't worked that long yet, you won't see an estimate on your statements.

When you have an estimate of your future benefit amount, it will make retirement planning a little easier. It's wise, then, to check your expected benefits sooner rather than later.

How to increase your benefit amount

If your estimate is lower than you expected (or if you simply want to maximize your monthly payments), there are steps you can take to boost your benefits:

  • Double-check your work history: The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates your benefits by taking an average of your earnings over the 35 highest-earning years of your career and then adjusting that number for inflation. To earn as much as possible, you'll need to have worked for at least 35 years before you file.
  • Work a little longer: Even if you have worked 35 full years, working a little longer can still increase your benefits. Chances are, you're earning more now than you were at the beginning of your career. Because the SSA only includes your highest-earning years in your average, working a few more years now when your salary is higher can result in larger payments.
  • Delay claiming benefits: You can file for Social Security at age 62 or anytime after that, but the longer you wait (up to age 70), the more you'll receive. Delay benefits by even a year or two, and you could potentially earn hundreds of dollars more per month.
  • Take advantage of all the benefits you're entitled to: Most workers will qualify for retirement benefits, but you could also be eligible for spousal benefits, divorce benefits, or survivors benefits. These payments could significantly increase your monthly income, so it's wise to take full advantage of them if you qualify.

Checking your benefit amount online is the first step toward maximizing your monthly checks. When you know approximately how much you can expect, it will be easier to gauge whether your retirement savings are on track or whether you need to find ways to supplement your income.