How Much Can I Earn Over The Limit And Still Collect Benefits?

Oct 31 2018 - 6:59am

I will turn 60 next year and will be eligible for my deceased spouse's social security. I currently work full time over 40 hours per week, and plan to continue to work 32 hours so I can still be eligible for insurance at work. I plan on taking my social security at 70. I will go over the threshold of how much you can earn and still collect. Is it a good idea to still collect his at 60? What happens if it's a wash and you end up owing as much as they'd paid to you. Also, because I'll be collecting his this won't play into me contributing to an HSA account since I'm not old enough for Medicare until I'm 65 correct.


The amount that you could earn and still draw some Social Security benefits depends on your month of entitlement and your monthly benefit rate. For example, say your benefit rate was $1500 per month and you became entitled to benefits in January 2019. Your total potential benefits for the year would be $18,000 (i.e.. $1500 x 12), but until the year you reach full retirement age (FRA) Social Security would withhold $1 of benefits for each $2 that you exceed the exempt amount, which is $17.640 in 2019. Thus, if you earned at least $36,000 over the exempt amount in this example, or $53,640, Social Security would withhold all of your 2019 benefits.

If you knew that you were going to earn too much to be paid any benefits there would likely be no reason to file. Your benefit rate would be reduced based on your age at the time you claim the benefits, so the earlier you file prior to FRA the lower your monthly rate would be. Our software should be able to help you determine the optimal months that you should file for your widow's benefits and for your retirement benefits.

You're correct that you won't be eligible for Medicare until age 65 unless you become disabled prior to age 63. However, if you've signed up for monthly benefits you would automatically be enrolled in at least Part A of Medicare at age 65 whether you're drawing retirement benefits on your own record or widow's benefits.

Best, Jerry