Social Security Benefits
What Happens if I Work and Get Social Security Retirement Benefits?
You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, your benefits could be reduced. Whether it makes sense to work and collect Social Security at the same time is a complicated assessment that depends on how much you earn and when you begin taking Social Security benefits. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, Social Security will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.
However, individuals may begin taking Social Security retirement benefits early beginning at age 62. If you are younger than full retirement age, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits. If you earn more than $16,920 (in 2017), Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn over the threshold. In the year you reach full retirement age, you can earn up to $44,880 (in 2017) without having a reduction in benefits. However, if you exceed $44,880 in earnings, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $3 you earn until the month you reach full retirement age. Once you reach full retirement age, your benefits will no longer be reduced.
If your benefits are withheld, at least some of those benefits will be returned to you in the form of higher monthly benefits once you reach full retirement age. When you reach full retirement age, Social Security will recalculate your benefits to take into account the months in which your benefits were withheld. In addition, if your latest year of earnings turns out to be one of your highest years, Social Security will recalculate your benefit based on the higher earnings and pay you any increase due.
When Social Security calculates how much to deduct from your benefits, they count only the wages you make from your job or your net earnings if you’re self-employed. They do include bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay. They don’t count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, or other government or military retirement benefits.
Should you have any questions about the calculations of your benefits, you can contact Social Security at (800) 772-1213 or at their website ssa.gov.
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