Can I Stop And Restart Benefits If I Get A Good Paying Job?

Category: 
Dec 1 2016 - 10:45am

My husband passed away and so I'm eligible for survivor benefits when I turn 60 next year. If I start to receive benefits, can I stop and restart should I find a good paying job?

Hi,

First off, I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

You can't voluntarily stop and restart your widow's benefits, but it could more or less work out that way due to the earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html). If you start drawing benefits at age 60, and then begin working at a job where you will earn more than the Social Security exempt amount, which is $15720 this year and $16920 in 2017, Social Security will suspend your benefits for as long as it takes to withhold $1 of your benefits for each $2 that your earnings exceed the exempt amount.

If you earn too much, you may not be due any Social Security for an entire calendar year. This can be problematic for someone who starts a job in the middle of a year, but earns so much that they end up not being due the benefits that they drew earlier in the year, prior to when they started work.

Before deciding on when to file, you may want to run the maximization software available on this website, especially if you are insured for Social Security benefits on your own record. There are a number of filing strategies that you may not have considered, and the software should help you determine the best filing strategy for you.

Best, Jerry