Can I Return To Work Full Time On 1/1/2021 And Not Be Subject To The Earnings Test?

Category: 
Jul 5 2020 - 10:54am

FRA is 66 and 2 months if you were born in 1955 but it also says if you are a survivor born in 1955 then you FRA is only 66 which. age applies to the earnings test I am currently collecting widows benefits and turn 66 on 11/15/2021 so I want to know if I can return to work full time on 1/1/21 and not be subject to the earnings test or do I have to wait until my birthday Thanks Judi

Hi Judi,

No. For earnings test purposes, Social Security goes by a person's full retirement age (FRA) for Social Security retirement benefits, not necessarily their FRA for widow's benefits. It's true that FRA for widow's benefits for a person born in 1955 is the month they reach age 66, but FRA for retirement benefits for someone born in 1955 is the month they reach age 66 & 2 months. Therefore, for earnings test purposes, FRA for a person born in 1955 is the month that they reach age 66 & 2 months, even if they are a widow who's drawing widow's benefits. The pertinent reference is item B.3 of the following section of Social Security's operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0302501021.

Since you'll be under FRA throughout the full year of 2021, the lower earnings test exempt amount will apply for you next year. The lower earnings test exempt amount in 2020 is $18,240, but the 2021 exempt amount won't be announced until later this year.

Best, Jerry