Social Security Benefits: How Long Should You Work to Max Them Out?

You have to work a certain amount in order to get the most Social Security benefits you can. Find out more here.

Dan Caplinger
Dan Caplinger
Apr 27, 2014 at 1:40PM
Investment Planning

Everyone wants to make Social Security a part of their retirement income, and with benefits based on your work history, it's important to make sure your decisions about your job fit with your Social Security needs.

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Terry about how long you should work and pay taxes into the Social Security system in order to get the most benefits. Dan points out that there are two key figures. The first involves working at least 40 quarters, which is the minimum to get Social Security on your own work record. Dan then discusses the 35-year work history record on which Social Security calculates benefits, noting that working longer can continue boosting your benefits depending on your past earnings adjusted for inflation.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to SocialSecurity@fool.com, and they might be the subject of a future video!