If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably counting on Social Security to help see you through retirement. A third of all income received by elderly people in the United States comes from the program. For millions of seniors, a monthly Social Security check is the only money they have to live on.
Unfortunately for many, the money they get isn’t all that much. The average retiree gets $1,366.46 a month from Social Security (as of April 2017). That’s enough to keep people out of poverty — but just barely. But if you’re savvy, you can give your Social Security check a little boost. A few moves, such as working longer and making sure you’re claiming all the benefits for which your eligible, can lead to more money in your pocket at retirement. Here are 11 things you can do to maximize your benefits and get a bigger Social Security check.
1. Check your statement
Your total Social Security retirement benefit is based on how much money you earned while you were working. If the information the Social Security Administration has about your income is wrong, your check at retirement could be lower than it should be. For that reason, it’s important to check your Social Security statement against your actual earnings. And if there’s an error, get it corrected.
To view your Social Security statement, create an account online at SSA.gov. You can also request a paper copy of your Social Security statement via mail.