Workings and Earnings

The annual earnings test applies to everyone receiving Social Security benefits except individuals receiving only disability benefits. The annual earnings test ends the month you become full retirement age.   Earnings Exempt Limits   Year You Become Full Retirement Age Social Security will withhold one dollar of your benefits for every three dollars you earn over the annual limit. You count the earnings earned prior to the month you become full retirement age. You do not count the earnings earned beginning with the month you become full retirement age. Before the Year You Become Full Retirement Age Social Security will withhold one dollar of your benefits for every two dollars you earn over the annual limit. You must count your earnings in all months January through December. This is true no matter what month you begin receiving Social Security checks. Monthly Earnings Test You use the monthly earnings test in the first year you have a month that you earn less than the “Monthly Earnings Test Limit” or have no earnings. If you earn $1.00 over the monthly limit, you lose your entire check for that month. If Social Security can pay you more checks using the “Yearly Earnings Test Limit,” they will revert to using the yearly earnings test. Earnings Exempt Limits Self-Employment When applying the monthly earnings test for self-employment, even if you earn over the dollar limits as shown above, you may be eligible for your monthly benefit if you do not work over the hours shown below.
  1. 45 hours, or
  2. 15 hours in a highly skilled occupation (example – some doctors, lawyers, consultants, etc.)
 


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