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Social Security benefits for part-timers

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Q. At age 70 1/2, I started collecting Social Security and quit my full-time job. Although I have worked part time for the past five years, my monthly Social Security check hasn’t increased (other than cost-of-living increases). Shouldn’t I be receiving an additional amount because I’m paying in more? H.E., via e-mail

A. Not necessarily. Your Social Security benefit amount is based on your earnings averaged over most of your working career. For example, if you have a few years of no earnings or low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you worked steadily. In addition, your age at the time you choose to begin receiving benefits affects the benefits amount. Finally, the Social Security Administration caps the amount you can receive monthly. Tip: For more details, visit the Social Security Administration Web site at

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