Working while Receiving Social Security

Isn’t it everybody’s goal to retire and collect Social Security checks? While that may be so, there may be some obstacles that one has to face before and after applying to receive the benefits:

Choosing to Work While Collecting Social Security

To work or not to work after you apply for Social Security pension, that is the question of many retirees. What is important to understand is that for those whose birthdays fall between 1943 and 1955, and who have reached the age of 66 or older, you can work without losing any of your Social Security. If you have not attained full retirement age and earn more than $14,160 annually, Social Security will deduct $1 for every $2 earned over that amount.

However, “If you reach full retirement age during 2011, we must deduct $1 from your benefits for each $3 you earn above $37,680 until the month you reach full retirement age,” according to Social Security’s publication,

It should be noted here that Social Security Administration bases your benefit earnings on the amount of income that you reported at the time you signed up for the benefit. If your earnings change, notify Social Security, since an adjustment to your earnings may be required.

What Counts as Income and What Does Not

Earnings you receive from an employer count, but if you are self-employed, your net earnings are counted. Any monies received from “other government benefits, investment earnings, interest, pensions, annuities and capital gains” are not counted.

If you are employed and have accumulated vacation, sick or bonus pay, it counts during the time in which you earned it, and not at the time that you receive it. The opposite is true if you are self-employed. The money paid to the self-employed counts when he receives it and not at the time that it was earned.

Survivors Benefits

As the surviving spouse, you are eligible to retire at the age of 60. However, prior to doing so, check out the difference in benefit payments between that which you will collect from your spouse’s Social Security at age 60 versus what you would obtain if you were to retire at your full retirement age. Keep in mind however, when you reach your full retirement age, you will be able to choose to take which ever Social Security benefit is higher. You must notify Social Security if you wish to switch to the opposite of the one you first receive.

The cited link to Social Security Administration describes in detail the important information that retirees will want to read carefully.