A maximum Social Security benefit could enable you to retire comfortably, but only a few do.

In 2022, the maximum Social Security benefit will be $4,194 per month -- over $50,000 per year. 

However, very few people will ever receive checks of this size. To pull this off, you'd need a pretty high income, 

But that's not the only requirement. Additionally, you must claim at a specific time. We'll look at what you

Need to do to qualify for the biggest checks the Social Security Administration offers.

Social Security benefits are calculated by the government

Calculating your Social Security benefit begins with calculating your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). 

The government does this by summing your earnings during your 35 highest-earning years, 

Adjusting for inflation, and dividing it by 420 -- the number of months in 35 years. There is, however, 

A catch for high earners. Your income is not always the same as what you've paid in Social Security taxes

in a given year. You will only pay Social Security taxes on the first $147,000 you earn in 2022,

for example. If you earn $150,000 or $1 million, the government will only count $147,000 when evaluating your income.

Depending on your birth year, the government plugs your AIME into a benefit formula. Social Security's current benefit formula is as follows:

2. Add 32% to any amount over $1,024 up to $6,172.

1. The first $1,024 of your AIME should be multiplied by 90%.

4. Round down your results from Steps 1 to 3 to the nearest multiple of $0.10.

3. Any amount over $6,172 should be multiplied by 15%.

The bend points in the above example are $1,024 and $6,172. Every year, they change. 

You'll use the bend points that were in effect in the year you turned 62. All bend points for previous years can be found in this table.

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