If I Claim Benefits Now, Will The Earnings Limit Apply Only To My Earnings For The Rest Of The Year?

Apr 20 2019 - 9:55am

I turned 65 in april. 2019. If I claim my benefits now, will the earning limit be for the rest of the year, or will all of 2019 be counted. Also, by continuing to work, what can I expect my benefit amount of 1707 to become as I continue to work at an anticipated rate of about $30,000 per year until I am 70. So confusing.


Social Security's annual earnings test counts your entire calendar year earnings, regardless of what month you start drawing benefits. So, if you claim benefits now and you end up earning more than $17,640 for the calendar year of 2019, you'll likely lose $1 of your 2019 benefits for each $2 that your earnings exceed the $17,640 limit.

There is, however, an alternate monthly earnings test that can be used instead of the annual earnings test in the first year that you claim benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/rule.html). Using that test, regardless of how much you've earned in the months prior to the first month that you claim benefits, you could still be paid all of your benefits for any months of 2019 in which your earnings don't exceed $1470.

How much your additional years of earnings would increase your benefit rate, if at all, would depend on how much you earned in past years. Social Security uses an average of your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings to calculate your retirement benefit rate, so in order to increase your rate your future earnings years would have to be higher than one or more of your previous 35 highest earnings years. Our software permits you to enter projected future years of earnings so that you can gauge the effect that those earnings would have on your benefit rate. The software is also fully programmed to handle earnings test issues, so you may want to strongly consider using it to do your Social Security planning.

Best, Jerry