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SOCIAL SECURITY Q & A: Maximum retirement amount for Social Security changes yearly

Q: What is the maximum Social Security retirement amount for 2014?

A: The maximum monthly Social Security retirement amount changes each year.

The 2014 maximum is more than the 2013 maximum, but will be less than the 2015 amount.

Several reasons are responsible for this with a major one being that different years of earnings become available to include in the retirement calculation. 

With each new calendar year, a year of potentially higher earnings becomes available for use in computing retirement benefit amounts.

Not only might actual earnings be higher but, depending on the maximum taxable earnings base ( for that year, more of the earnings can be credited for use in the Social Security computation.

An early step in determining a retirement amount is to compute the person’s amount at full retirement age (FRA), without reductions or additions.

To do this, Social Security uses the person’s best 35 years of earnings, weighted for inflation.

To compute the benefit for the person’s actual retirement date, Social Security adjusts the full retirement age amount by the number of months that the person is away from FRA.

The amount is reduced if younger than full retirement age or increased if older than their full retirement age.

If starting Social Security retirement in 2014 exactly at full retirement age, and if the person earned at least the maximum SSA taxable earnings in each of the 35 years used in the calculation, then the highest 2014 Social Security retirement amount is $2,642 per month.

For comparison, the highest 2013 SSA retirement amount was $2,533 per month.

Knowing the highest 2014 Social Security retirement amount is interesting.

Estimating your own retirement amount is more useful.

Do so with the calculators included in the in the SSA Retirement Planner at

The Retirement Estimator will be especially useful. Ready to file for retirement? Go online.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota.  Send general interest questions to him at Read his online articles at