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Social Security benefits are based on a person’s top 35 years of indexed earnings. Every year that a person works and pays FICA taxes — even beyond full retirement age — is added to their earnings history. If current earnings are higher than a previous year used in the calculation, future benefits could increase. Beware: Those who collect Social Security before full retirement age are subject to earnings restrictions. They would forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 earned over $16,920 in 2017. A higher limit applies in the year they reach full retirement age and earnings restrictions disappear at 66. Any benefits lost to the earnings cap are restored at full retirement age in the form of higher monthly benefits.