How Special Payments After You Retire Affect Your Social Security Benefit

woman on dock getting into kayak After you retire from your job or self-employment, you may get payments for work you did before you started receiving Social Security benefits. We call those “special payments.” Usually, special payments will not affect your Social Security benefit, if they are for work done before you retired. These payments will be counted in the last month you worked, unless the services can be shown to have been rendered in a prior period.

You should consider this when evaluating your work activity. If you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, your earnings may reduce the amount of your monthly benefit. In 2018, the earnings limit is $17,040 if you are younger than full retirement age for the entire calendar year. If you reach full retirement age in 2018, the earnings limit is $45,360 for the months before you reach full retirement age. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can receive your full monthly benefit no matter how much money you earn.

If you were self-employed, any net income you receive after the first year you retire counts as a special payment if you performed the services before you began receiving Social Security benefits. “Services” are any regular work or other significant activity you do for your business.

You can find more information and examples of special payments by reading Special Payments After Retirement. If you want to learn more about the earnings limit, please read How Work Affects Your Benefits.

Got another question about Social Security? On our website, you can find answers to over 200 of  your most frequently asked questions, and much more. Social Security’s online services are here to put control at your fingertips. See what else you can do online at


74 thoughts on “How Special Payments After You Retire Affect Your Social Security Benefit

  1. (it just hard to see(only one eye) (right eye blind spot) not good for me and its hard read it fast for me(I wish my eye go back to normal(it will never happened(ever since (heart attack(since 2000)at well Fargo Bank)(i wish never drink red bull(2x) ) and working at (wal-mart) morning) and trying to do the best mom and but and strong for my kids sake(everything so happy those day now its gone for good)(but father dies(2016)everything change)( i have to type close to the computer to see the letter and words I type)(what a life it is) for me now)(57)(divorce(kids (move on)(mom and me and my brother(divorce)(he works full time)visit his kids and grandkids(Modesto)(what a life)(everything change)(heart attack-blood pressure and cholesterol)(6pills)(Highland Clinic in Oakland, CA) (Dr Diaz)

  2. Why do I have to pay taxes on my social security if I make over A CERTAIN AMOUNT in retirement. I have been at full retirement are for at least 2 years? I was born 1 Sep 1950.

    • Hello John, some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.
      Also, everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes. For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. Thanks!

  3. Hi, I would like to know if I am eligible for this “special payment “. Gabriel P. Wachs *** – ** – ***. Please let me know.

  4. If I get laid off from my job within the year I become full retirement age to collect the maximum can I take unemployment payments until I reach the correct age

    • Hi Julie. Social Security does not count unemployment benefits as earnings. They do not affect retirement benefits. However, income from Social Security may reduce your unemployment compensation. Contact your state unemployment office for information on how your state applies the reduction. We hope this information helps!

  5. If it is true that the treasury owes the social security trust fund over two trillion dollars, how can it be said that social security is going broke?

  6. i’ve been trying to avail my ssi because i just lose my work but to no avail..i cant pay my rent & cant buy my broke & soon to live in not good in using internet,can you please help me..,i’ve been a tax payer for more than decade & im a father of 2 kids.

  7. I am 64 years old i am shuffling with depression i have no benefits from social security administration and work on the pass.

  8. Rec’d communication concerning additional $$$ for veterans. Produce DD214 for those additional funds. Need confirmation of such additional funds.

    • You should check your application or notice of award. There was a question on your application that required SSA to consider your military time and the case could not be processed until that question was answered. Odds are nearly impossible that you did not get credit for that service.

      There is a hoax currently making its way around to scare you into thinking SSA did not give you those credits. Be careful not to give these people money for “protection” from something that you were already protected from. Repeat: your application could not have been processed without asking for that information first.

  9. I have recently heard that I may be eligible for extra SS benefits being a Vietnam Veteran serving from 1966 -1969. I also read this on a SS site. Can you please shed some light on this extra benefit

    Thank you,very much!

  10. I’m just wondering if I receive my ex husband social security when it’s time over my disability monthly payments? As 770.00 is barely enough to survive and because I was married 4X I’m missing a lot of jobs on my own record, and I’m probably not the only one that didn’t know that if your a teenager and married and stay home because of difficult pregnancy and then to raise the child that not filing income tax with the husband doesn’t show any money for that year! I’m sure there are tons of women in Domestic Violence households where the female is not allowed to work and has been isolated from family. Just a thought to consider

    • Ms. Patterson raises an valid point. Is DOMESTIC VIOLENCE an exception to the “must be married for 10 years” in order to qualify for spousal benefits from a divorced spouses SSA account? If not, does SSA rules force DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS to remain in a dangerous marriage in order to be able to leave the marriage with some financial support?

  11. Thank sir ,for give my approved benefits of retirement pay on 03/28/2018, now send to my address Thailand!

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  13. I work full time. I began collecting SS benifits at age 66. Is my allowance change every year. If so what month can I expect the change to happen.

  14. Can you. Still get retirement after going back to work for retirement credited and has already worked received ssi and filed you’re wage and employermeant then started working again

  15. HOW CAN I GET a copy of my 2018 awards letter from social security and a copy of my wife’s as well her information is Trudy Rivet Rafferty, *** – ** – ***. Born 10/16/1950 in New Orleans?

  16. I will be 62 on May 13, 2018 and have applied for Retirement Benefits. If I stop working at the end of May will my earning of approx. 22,000 from January through May reduce my SS benefits.
    Does the 17,040 limit only apply to earnings after I qualify for SS.

  17. We have a question ? If you start drawing your social security before the full age of 67 and you can make up to $ 17,040.00 without being penalized does that include the amount you may be drawing in a separate retirement pension at the place you retired from? Or does the 17,040 that you are allowed to make on the second job does the $ 17, 040.00 include what you are making already from your retirement check.? I hope you understand what I am trying to ask. I hope I said it sinyiu will understand what I mean. Thank you ..

  18. What happens to my pension as a federal employee, if I decide to go out under disability retirement due some chronic health issues?


  20. I will be 60 in three years and will get my monthly military retirement pay. I won’t be retiring until 65. Will this affect my social security even though I will have to pay taxes on this money?

  21. If a personals personal income tax rate stays the same a Traditional IRA and Roth IRA have exactly the same results so it comes down to betting on tax rates in retirement vs tax rates today. * If you believe your tax bracket will be lower in retirement then a Traditional IRA makes sense. * If you believe your tax bracket will be higher in retirement than a Roth IRA make sense. My wife and I hedge our bets and max out a 401k and a Roth IRA If you really want to avoid taxes max out a HSA account and use it as a retirement vehicle instead of a medical account.

  22. I got injured at work at the age of 37 and started receiving SSI Disability. When do I start receiving SSI retirement or do I ? Get to receive SSI retirement funds ? I really don’t understand how this works . I really hope my retirement is more then what I’m receiving now. How do you survive from making 50,000 a year working to $16,000 a yr. on Disability. Makes no sense. I’m struggling so bad .

    • I got injured at the age of 37. I am 50 yrs old now . When does SSI kick in for me ? I’m on SSI Disability. This is from my last post . I just wanted to add my age as of now .

  23. Hi, I have been working since I retired at 66. I am now 74 yrs old and still working part-time and still contributing to social security. Why are my benefits not increasing?

  24. At what age can I earn monies without affecting the amount of your Social Security benefits? I was born December 1956.

  25. I am reitired from federal government and I will apply for my social security at 61 and 9 months…I turn 62 in February 2019, can I expect my payments to start in April of 2019?

  26. I am thinking of getting social security benefits. I am not quite the age yet, but my body isn’t going to be going for much longer. I appreciated the knowledge that, “If you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, your earnings may reduce the amount of your monthly benefit.” I may need to look into an attorney who can help me know what to do.

  27. Definitely it will affect, but I think special services might be more important due to their pros and cons, while the time is also a key factor.
    I’d analyzed a similar effects in the field of nutrition which you can visit here:

  28. I have a Roth IRA account. I am 63 and have started collecting my Social Security. If I decide to take distribution from my Roth IRA, will those monies be counted as income?

  29. I am retired and receive SS. I will not have full retirement for a couple of years. I am working part time and would like to know how much I can make before I am penalized

  30. Is an employer required to report Special Payments After Retirement. I had a payment in 2018 and retired in 2017.

  31. My question is regarding the special extra earnings for periods of active duty.
    Is the extra pay of $300.00 for active duty service from 1975 through 1967 or the special extra earning of $100.00 for service from 1998-2011 a monthly amount?
    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi, Roy. Since you are past your full retirement, your earnings will not affect your Social Security retirement benefits. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will need to report your income to your local Social Security office. If you have any other question, please call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), from Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. We hope this helps.

  32. I really don’t agree with my Social Security Wage Record it doesn’t reflect the earrings I should get for retirement. The one thing Social Security does do is give you a raise and take it back and say they overpaid you, why am I or others a victim of this oppression. It is very UNFAIR. To supplement my income I have to work to take care of my Household. My Health is not that great that I should still have to work it is unfair and even predjudiced and discremenatory.

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