What Earnings Count Under the Earnings Test?

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Jun 17 2016 - 5:00pm

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.

My sense is that the proceeds from the sale of an invention would count as self-employment income. Please read the first of the three horror stories discussed at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/column-3-true-social-security-h.... The story is potentially very pertinent to your situation.

best, Larry