Is It True That I Have To Pay Back $1 For Every $2 That I Earn Above $17000 Per Year?

Category: 
Nov 4 2018 - 11:09am

Hi,
I am going to be 60 years old on Dec 2018, my husband passed away from cancer last year, he would have 65 in August 2018. I applied for widows benefits in new jersey. I was told that I can not make above $17 000 a year, if I do I have to pay back $1 for every $2 I have, is this true?.
2nd question I have is if i I make over 17 000 a year, and I told social security office yo stop my payments in october, do I still have to pay back on my earnings for the rest of the year.
3rd thing is that I do not want to go on Medicaid, I worked hard all my life, what do widows do for medical coverage, my income is going to be too low for Obama care.
Thank you for your help to sort out this information.

Hi,

I'm sorry for your loss.

It sounds like what you were told is basically true. The actual earnings test exempt amount for 2018 is $17,040, and you would likely lose $1 of your benefits for each $2 that you earn in excess of that amount this year. But, since you aren't eligible for widow's benefits until you turn age 60 in December 2018, you could be paid for that month if you don't earn over $1420 in December even if you earn more than $17040 for the year (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/rule.html).

The earnings test exempt amount is $17,640 in 2019, and you would lose $1 of benefits for each $2 that your 2019 earnings exceed that amount. That doesn't mean that you can necessarily draw your benefits until you earn $17,640, though. For example, if your monthly benefit rate was $1000 and you earned $41,640 in 2019, you wouldn't be due any benefits at all for 2019. That's because Social Security would need to withhold $12000 of your benefits, or $1 for each $2 that your earnings exceeded $17640 (i.e. ($41640-$17640)/2), which would mean withholding all 12 months of your $1000 monthly benefit. So, the number of months that you could be paid benefits next year (if any) depends on your earnings level and the amount of your benefits.

You may want to strongly consider using our software to help you determine when the best time would be for you to claim your widow's benefits and/or your own retirement benefits. Your best strategy depends on the relative amounts of your widow's benefits and your retirement benefits based on your own earnings, as well as the amount that you'll be earning between now and your full retirement age.

I'm sorry, but my expertise is limited to Social Security benefits, so I'm not able to answer questions regarding Medicaid or health insurance. Eligibility for Medicare can't begin until age 65, though, unless you become disabled before then.

Best, Jerry