Working While Retired

two women smiling and looking at flowersRetirement life is different for everyone. Social Security is here to secure today and tomorrow, whether you sail into the sunset or decide to continue working. Some of our rules allow you to receive Social Security retirement or survivor benefits and work at the same time, as long as you don’t make more than Social Security’s annual earnings limit. For 2017, that limit is $16,920.

If you’re younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we’ll reduce your Social Security benefits. But starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn. Our retirement planner explains the requirement and deductions, and what happens after you reach full retirement age.

Two of our online tools can help you find the information you need to make the right decision for you. You can find your full retirement age based on your date of birth by using our Retirement Age Calculator. Our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator can help you find out how much your benefits may be reduced if you are working and haven’t reached your full retirement age.

There are several things to consider if you plan to continue working after you retire. Our website gives you detailed information for the type of employment that you have. It also explains what types of pensions, annuities, and income do not count toward your earnings limits.

Additional earnings after you start collecting benefits might increase your monthly benefit. If there’s an increase, we’ll send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount. If you think your earnings will be different than what you originally told us, let us know right away. For more information, read How Work Affects Your Benefits or visit our website. No matter what you decide to do with your retirement life, you can count on Social Security.


458 thoughts on “Working While Retired

  1. What if you have been working and receiving benefits and then finally retire? Do you need to notify SSA? Will there be a change in benefits?

    • Hi Theresa, thanks for using our blog. It really depends on your age. If you’re under full retirement age and your earnings estimate that you provided has changed, you would want to report that change. However, if you’re past your full retirement age, you would not need to report a change in your work. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

    • Hi Noel, thank you for your question. If your earnings will be over the limit for the year, and you will receive Social Security retirement benefits for part of the year, we have a special rule that applies to earnings for one year. The special rule lets us pay a Social Security check for any whole month we consider you retired, regardless of your yearly earnings. If you are under full retirement age for all of 2020, you are considered retired in any month that your earnings are $1,520 or less and you did not perform substantial services in self-employment.

      Check out our Receiving Benefits While Working web page for additional details.

  2. I looked it up but not sure if its correct. If I retire at age 64 I will receive 1103.00 in medicare benefits not including the cost for Medicare which would make it less? also how much is my monthly earning limit? A representative told me 1500.00 but I read 1800.00?

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for using our blog. Social Security has an online calculator called a Retirement Estimator, that provides immediate retirement benefit estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Plus, it also allows you to create “what if” scenarios. You can, for example, change your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement alternatives.

      The amount you’re allowed to earn while receiving benefits depends on your age. If you attain full retirement age (66) in 2020, the earnings limit is $48,600 but we only count earnings before the month you reach full retirement age. Beginning with the month you reach full retirement age, earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn. If you’re under full retirement age for the entire year, then we deduct $1 from benefit payments for every $2 earned above the annual limit. For 2020, that limit is $18,240. Visit our Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working and our Retirement Earnings Test Calculator.

      The Benefits Planner: Retirement provides detailed information about Social Security retirement benefits.

  3. I will receive benefits beginning January 2021. What are the limits on how much I can earn at my job and still collect my SSI?

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