Are Lost Benefits Due to the Earnings Test Returned to You?

Jul 1 2016 - 11:15am

I am confused about the reduction in benefits for earnings. I understand how much benefits are reduced by earnings that take place up until full retirement age, but I see different statements on whether or not the amount of reduction is fully returned to you after FRA. In other words, do you get only some back (because you put more in), or do they actually give back to you the full amount that your benefit was reduced? If the latter is true, how does that work? I haven't been able to find this anywhere on line. THanks, I am using your software and it is helpful but doesn't answer this question.
PS: Just one critique of your otherwise excellent software - there doesn't seem to be anyway to run reports to compare different "what if" scenarios. It seems like the only way is download the PDF's for each one and compare them manually, very clunky.

The benefits that are lost due to the Earnings Test are not returned to you. Rather, the early retirement reduction factor is adjusted, via the Adjustment of the Reduction Factor (ARF), at your FRA to account for early benefits that you didn't actually receive. For example, suppose you took your benefit four years early, which means that it was reduced by 25%, but, due to the Earnings Test, you never received any early benefits, then at your FRA the early retirement reduction factor would be eliminated and your future benefits would not be reduced. It would be just as if you didn't take your benefit early.
As a current customer, please see Adjustment of the Reduction Factor in our glossary.
Also, in the future, please use our customer contact form to get support regarding how to use Maximize My Social Security or to ask questions related to your specific case.