I want to retire next year, but I have only worked for 29 years. How will this impact my benefits?

Published: July 6, 2020

Hi there,

The Social Security Administration uses your highest 35 years of earnings, after adjusting for inflation, to calculate your benefit amount. If you do not have 35 years of earnings, zeros will be used for the years with no earnings. This is not uncommon at all.

In your case, you will have 6 years of zero earnings. If you do decide to work longer, your benefit amount may increase, since one year of zero earnings will be replaced with the amount you earned that year.

Beware though that if you are collecting Social Security benefits and are between ages 62 and your full retirement age (age 66 through 67), your earnings may cause Social Security benefits to be withheld due to the Retirement Earnings Test. Once you reach your full retirement age, the earnings test no longer applies.


Do you have a question about Social Security? Ask Martha your own question here.

Schedule Appointment
Back to All