Earnings Test

How Is The Earnings Test Applied?


Is it possible the earnings test could actually increase ones life time benefit? Specifically the in the event of someone turning 62 next year and my kids will be 16 and 11. Does the earnings test reduce their benefit if I continue to work or just mine?


The earnings test is applied to benefits payable to all entitled family members. $1 of total benefits is withheld for each $2 of the worker's excess earnings (i.e. earnings above the yearly exempt amount, which is $15,720 in 2016).

Does the Earnings Test Apply to My Assets?


If I have money in the bank and I want to collect social security survivor benefits will they take my money under the Earnings Test? I am 64. Thanks, Deborah

Hi Deborah, the Earnings Test based just on money earned from working, including working for yourself. The Earnings Test can depend on royalty income if you engage in promoting your book or other work. But money in the bank? Not a problem. Best, Larry

What Earnings Count Under the Earnings Test?


If I sell an invention idea to a company, do I lose monthly SS benefits? Thank you, Nora.

Hi Nora,

Your question pertains to Social Security's Earnings Test, which ends once you reach full retirement age. Moreover, if you lose benefit X before full retirement age to the Earnings Test, benefit X will be bumped up at full retirement to credit you, on a full actuarial basis, for benefits lost due to the Earnings Test.

Why Is It Optimal for Me to File Before My Full Retirement Age


My birthdate is Nov12, 1951. Why does the Maximized Strategy In your software suggest I file effective October 2016 at age 65? Wouldn't that yield less of a monthly benefit? I guess that I don't understand the logic there.

Dear Anonymous,

You specified your maximum age of life to be 85. Just to be clear, your maximum age of life is not your expected age of life. Your maximum age of life is the oldest age to which you could live. Your expected age of life is when you'll die, on average.