In 2023, the maximum monthly Social Security benefit will be $4,555 per month. This is an increase from the maximum $4,194 monthly benefit in 2022 and it's the highest amount of retirement benefits any senior can get.  

A monthly Social Security check of $4,555 would provide $54,660 in annual retirement income. That would be a pretty generous sum of money to use to enjoy your later years.

You'd need to do a lot to get such a large Social Security benefit, though. Specifically, here are the steps you'd have to take in order to bring home this much in retirement benefits. 

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1. Earn more than 94% of your peers for 35 years or more

The maximum monthly Social Security benefit of $4,555 is available to people who earn the maximum income subject to Social Security tax for 35 full years. 

Each year, the Social Security Administration sets a wage base limit. You're taxed on income up to this limit and income up to this limit is used in the benefits calculation formula. That formula gives you benefits equal to a percentage of your inflation-adjusted average wages in the 35 years you earned the most. If you don't earn at least the wage base limit for all 35 years in your calculation, you can't get the max benefit. 

According to the Social Security Administration, just 6% of covered workers each year have earnings above the taxable maximum. This means that you must be among this 6% of workers for at least 35 years of your career. In 2022, you'd have to earn a minimum of $147,000 to be in this 6% and in 2023, you'd have to earn a minimum of $160,200. Each year for 35 years, you'd have to earn the inflation-adjusted equivalent of these amounts. 

2. Claim Social Security later than more than 90% of your peers 

If you manage to be in the top 6% of earners for 35 years, there's one more step to take to earn a monthly Social Security benefit of $4,555. You're going to have to wait to claim Social Security until age 70. 

See, the benefits formula calculates your standard benefit. The standard benefit is available at your full retirement age, which is based on birth year. For each month you delay claiming benefits beyond FRA, the standard benefit is increased. So, to get the maximum monthly benefit, you have to increase the standard benefit you're entitled to as much as possible. 

Social Security data shows only 5% of men and 7% of women delay the start of their Social Security checks until the age of 70. 

Many people start earlier because they need the money. But if you want that whopping $54,660 annual Social Security income, you can't be one of them. You'll have to either plan to work a long time or live off your savings from the time you retire until you finally reach 70. 

If you don't think you can accomplish these two tasks, you'll have to say goodbye to the idea of a $4,555 monthly Social Security benefit. The good news is, you can still have a secure retirement even if your Social Security check is far below that amount. You'll just need to make sure you have plenty of money saved to supplement the retirement checks you do earn.