12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks

Following these tips will ensure you receive all the retirement income you're entitled to -- which might be more than you realize.

1. Work more years

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The size of your Social Security benefit checks is generally decided by a formula that is effectively based on your 35 highest-earning years of work. If you work for fewer than 35 years, the formula uses zeros for the missing years’ earnings.

Years of zero earnings will lower your benefits. So, at least work for 35 years before you stop working.

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