All financial plans are important, but Social Security benefits play a profound role in preventing elderly poverty and are paid out at an important stage in a worker’s life. With that in mind, it pays to know when you can start receiving your monthly payments and how continuing to work while collecting Social Security will impact your benefits.
As the Social Security Administration (SSA) points out, it is perfectly fine to work full time and collect Social Security when you turn the eligible-to-collect age of 62. Whether you should, in normal circumstances, is another issue entirely.
With a few exceptions, almost every financial guru will tell you to wait as long as you can to start collecting your Social Security payments. If you choose to draw on your Social Security before you reach your full retirement age (66 or 67 years old, depending on if you were born before or after 1960) and if you earn more than the designated SSA income limits, your benefits will be reduced.
The SSA deducts $1 for every $2 you earn over the $19,560 limit so that you would get $2,180 of your Social Security benefits kept back.
Using the SSA’s example in its “How Work Affects Your Benefits” publication, if your monthly Social Security payment at 62 years is $600 ($7,200/year) and you intend to make $23,920 for the year, you will get payments withheld for the $4,360 you earn over the $19,560 limit.
However, you will get the money back once you reach full retirement age. At that point, your benefit can be recalculated and your monthly benefit will increase based on the additional earnings.
You can keep track of your benefits by using the SSA’s online platform, mySocialSecurity.
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