I have not shown any income for the past seven years, and receive about $900/month in Social Security. This year I will earn about $30,000. Will this affect my SS income, and if so by how much (approximately)?

  • 3
    Is the social security retirement, survivors, or disability? – mhoran_psprep Mar 23 '19 at 11:23

It depends. It's complicated: if you are under your Full Retirement Age (FRA), then benefits are reduced by $1 for every $2 earned over $17,640. In the year you reach FRA, they're reduced by $1 for every $3 earned. And if you're over FRA, they're not reduced at all. At least if I have correctly interpreted the SS web page: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html

PS: As Dilip Sarwate notes in a comment, your $30K earnings this year will almost certainly (given that your current benefit is only $900) increase your benefit in future years. The benefit is calculated using your highest 30/35 (don't remember exactly which) earnings years, indexed for inflation. So the $30K will replace your lowest earning year, giving a higher benefit amount.

(If I've understood the SS material, something similar is also the case if benefits are reduced due to earnings: the reduction factors into an increased benefit after FRA.)

  • Thanks! Since posting the question I have indeed confirmed that this is correct: you can earn as much as you want after retirement age with no impact on the SS pension. – Peter Bloch Mar 23 '19 at 12:02
  • @PeterBloch Actually earnings after FRA can affect your future SS benefits positively because the new earnings are used in computing next year's SS benefits and so your SS benefits might go up more than they would otherwise have had you not gotten that $30K in earnings. If you have already maxed out your SS benefits (earned more than the maximum SS wages in each of 35 different years thus far) then the additional earnings will not increase your SS benefit (and SS will not return the tax withheld either). – Dilip Sarwate Mar 23 '19 at 14:14

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