Will My Retirement Benefit Go Up Or Down If I Work Past Age 70?

May 4 2017 - 10:59pm

I will turn 70 on December 25, 2017. I work at Northwestern University and intend to continue working until our new University Center opens - hopefully by 2020. I am in decent health, and love the work that I do. I have asked this question of Social Security and I never get a straight answer. Whatever the dollar amount that I would receive if I retired at 70, if I keep working beyond 70, will that dollar amount remain the same? Or do the taxes that I would pay Social Security make the dollar amount go down? Will I continue to accrue Social Security quarters by continuing to work? If so, does my Social Security dollar go up? I am more concerned about the first part, because I don't want to lose any of it. I hope my explanation/question makes sense. Thank you for very much!

Hi,

Your retirement benefit rate is based on an average of your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). You can't lower your benefit rate by continuing to work past age 70, because if your earnings in those years aren't among your highest 35 years, they simply won't be used in the calculation. On the other hand, if you continue working and earn more than one or more of your previous high 35 years, your benefit rate can be recalculated and increased.

Best, Jerry