How Is The Monthly Earnings Test Applied?

Feb 23 2017 - 12:15pm

I turned 62 in October of 2016. If I file for Social Security benefits in July of 2017 I know the annual earnings max of $16920 does not apply for the first year, just the monthly max of $1410 does, but how does SSA know what I've earned each month after I apply when my employer only reports a total for the year? What if my income fluctuates, say $800 in August of 2017 and then 1600 in September? I can't find anything on line that is specific to that question. Thanks for your help!


If you receive benefits in your first year of entitlement based on the alternate monthly earnings test, you are required to report to Social Security if you exceed the earnings limit in any month. If you file for benefits this year and are being paid based on the monthly earnings test, you would not be due a Social Security payment for September if you earn $1600 that month (

Best, Jerry