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What State Pays the Most in Social Security?

Last updated: November 19, 2023

We all dream of a secure and comfortable retirement, and Social Security plays a vital role in that dream. But did you know the state you live in could influence your Social Security benefits?

Understanding Social Security

Social Security is more than just a retirement program. It's a lifeline for millions of Americans, providing benefits to retirees, disabled persons, and families of deceased workers. Your Social Security benefits are based on your lifetime earnings, but the state you live in can affect how much you receive.

How Social Security Benefits Vary By State

Not all states treat Social Security benefits the same way. Some states tax Social Security income, while others do not. Additionally, the cost of living can significantly impact how far your Social Security benefits stretch.

Factors Influencing Social Security Benefits

The Social Security benefits you receive are a product of several influencing factors. It's not a one-size-fits-all equation; your unique circumstances play a significant role. Let's dive deeper into the key factors that can affect your benefits.

Lifetime Earnings

Your Social Security benefits are primarily calculated based on your lifetime earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates your benefits using your 35 highest-earning years. If you have worked less than 35 years, the SSA will still use a 35-year timeframe, filling in years with zero earnings as needed. Therefore, the higher your income during your top-earning years, the higher your benefits will be.

Age of Collection 

The age at which you start collecting benefits also has a considerable impact. The earliest age you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits is 62. However, if you opt to start at this age, your benefits will be permanently reduced. 

Conversely, if you delay collecting benefits past your full retirement age (which varies depending on your birth year but ranges from 65 to 67), you can accrue delayed retirement credits, which increase your monthly benefit amount. The latest age to start collecting, to maximize this increase, is 70.

Work Status

The third significant factor is whether or not you continue to work while collecting benefits. If you're below your full retirement age and earning over a certain limit, your Social Security benefits may be temporarily reduced. 

However, these aren't truly lost, as your benefits will increase at your full retirement age to account for benefits withheld due to earlier earnings. Once you reach full retirement age, you can earn unlimited income without affecting your Social Security benefits.

Each of these factors, combined with the specific policies in your state of residence, contributes to the total amount you can expect to receive from Social Security. It's a complex system, but understanding these aspects can help you plan effectively for retirement.

Top States with Highest Social Security Benefits

So, what state pays the most in Social Security? According to recent data, these are the top states:


Maryland takes the top spot for the state paying the most in Social Security benefits, with an average monthly benefit higher than the national average.

New Jersey

Coming in second, New Jersey offers generous Social Security benefits. The Garden State has a high cost of living, but Social Security benefits tend to balance this out.


Connecticut ranks high on the list of states with high Social Security payouts. Despite having one of the highest costs of living in the country, retirees in this state receive above-average benefits.


Massachusetts also pays higher-than-average Social Security benefits, making it an attractive state for retirees.

New Hampshire

Rounding out our top five is New Hampshire, a state that offers generous Social Security benefits and a high standard of living.

Factors That Affect the Amount of Social Security Benefits

Several key factors can affect the amount of Social Security benefits you receive:

Cost of Living

The cost of living can significantly affect your Social Security benefits. A higher cost of living may require larger Social Security benefits to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.

Tax Laws

Each state has different tax laws related to Social Security. Some states, like Florida and Nevada, do not tax Social Security benefits, while others do.

Retirement Age

The age at which you choose to retire and start collecting Social Security benefits can significantly impact the amount you receive.


1. What state has the highest Social Security benefits? 

Maryland currently offers the highest average Social Security benefits.

2. Does the state you live in affect your Social Security benefits? 

Yes, factors such as cost of living and state tax laws can affect your Social Security benefits.

3. How can I maximize my Social Security benefits? 

Delaying retirement, working for at least 35 years, and understanding your state's tax laws can help maximize your benefits.

4. Do all states tax Social Security income? 

No, not all states tax Social Security income.

5. Can I collect Social Security benefits while still working? 

Yes, but there may be limitations depending on your age and earnings.


When it comes to Social Security benefits, where you live matters, by considering factors such as cost of living, tax laws, and your retirement age, you can make an informed decision and maximize your Social Security benefits.

Get more insight on SSA grid rules you should know about in 2023 from our blogs at Disability Help today.

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Victor Traylor
An expert to the field of Social Justice, Victor formed Disability Help to connect ideas and expertise from the US with rising global cultural leadership, building networks, fostering collaboration, long-term results, mutual benefit, and more extensive international perception.
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