Let's say I want to retire at the age of 55, but don't want to have a 0 calculated in the average (social security payment calculation) for each year from 55-67. Can I continue to pay in to social security even though I'm not working, to get a bigger check at my "allowed" retirement age?

  • Most likely you'd be better off investing the money you want to pay to SSA and supplementing your retirement income with the earnings from that investment.
    – JohnFx
    Commented Nov 25, 2022 at 20:01
  • 1
    Mechanically, you may be able to structure such contributions as self-employment through a Rube Goldberg machine where you ultimately pay yourself (and pay all the income taxes that entails). Legality of such a system would probably be a subject for the Law SE site. Commented Nov 26, 2022 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


To answer your question directly, no it is not possible to elect to pay additional social security taxes when you have no employment income, in order to increase your future benefit.

However, this may not have a significant impact on your future benefits (and may have no impact at all):

The calculation of your SS income is based on your highest 35 years of earnings: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/Benefits.html

So, if you started working at 20, you could retire at 55 with the full calculated 35 working years. Granted, your income at 20 may be lower than your income at 56, so continuing to work in those final years may still have a positive impact on your benefit.

You can calculate an estimate of your benefit based on your earnings to date, by using this calculator: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/AnypiaApplet.html

Further discussion on methods to increase your net take-home SS payments that may apply to you, can be found here (no affiliation): https://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/081616/5-tips-increase-your-social-security-check.asp

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