Will We Lose All Of Our Benefits If I Take A Temporary Job?

Apr 26 2019 - 10:13am

I retired in Feb of 2019 at 62 year old. I have been earning $500 a month for Jan thru April from part-time work. I have the opportunity to take a temporary job for 4 to 5 months ( May to Sept) earning $4000 per month. I receive $1375 in monthly SS benefits and my children receive $1570 in monthly SS benefits. Will I loose all benefits for those months or will it be reduced by the $1 for $2 earned over the monthly limit.


The answer to your question depends on how much your total earnings will be in 2019. You can be paid benefits this year based on either of 2 separate and distinct Social Security earnings tests. The monthly earnings test allows you to be paid only for months in which you earn no more than $1470 this year. The annual earnings test allows you to be paid all of your benefits except for $1 of benefits for each $2 that your calendar year 2019 earnings exceed $17,640.

Under either test, both your own benefits and any benefits that your children receive from your record are subject to withholding. Based on the benefit amounts you receive, the monthly test would cause you to lose either $11,780 (i.e. $2945 x 4) or $14,725 (i.e. $2945 x 5) depending on whether you earn more than $1470 in 4 months or 5 months. The annual earnings test would result in a lower loss of benefits than that as long as your total 2019 earnings end up below $41,200, since earnings below that amount would require less than $11,780 to be withheld.

If you do end up taking the temporary job and will earn more than you previously told Social Security, you should notify them of your new estimated 2019 earnings and let them know which months you'll earn less than $1470. They will then consider both earnings tests and pay you based on whichever test is more favorable to you.

Best, Jerry