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What Happens if You 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 your full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, the SSA will reduce your benefit. However, starting with the month you reach your full retirement age, the SSA will not reduce your SSD benefits no matter how much you earn.

  • The SSA uses the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, the SSA deducts $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.

For 2016 that limit is $15,720.

  • In the year you reach full retirement age, the SSA deducts $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but they only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.

If you will reach full retirement age in 2016, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $41,880.
Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.
Use the SSA’s Retirement Age Calculator to find your full retirement age based on your date of birth.

What counts as earnings:
When the SSA figures out 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 include bonuses, commissions and vacation pay. They don’t count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans benefits or other government or military retirement benefits.

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