What Is the Income Limit for a Person to Continue to Receive Social Security Benefits?


Americans prepare for retirement with savings, investments and employment that pays into the Social Security system. With these three elements, many Americans feel they must continue to work into retirement years, providing another source of income. Social Security regulations restrict benefits with income limitations for recipients in some situations.

Senior couple looking at bills
Senior couple looking at bills (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Early Retirement

If you retire at age 62, the earliest age available with Social Security benefits, you receive about 25 percent less a month than if you wait until you are “full retirement age” as defined by Social Security. Full retirement age is currently 66 or 67, depending on the year you were born. You are subject to an income limit penalty for the years you collect Social Security before you reach full retirement age. In 2010, you could receive $14,160 a year in employment income and receive full early retirement benefits. For every two dollars earned over that amount, Social Security applies a one-dollar penalty, according to the Social Security website.

Senior businessman
Senior businessman (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)


The assessed penalty is not all lost. For months you pay a penalty, Social Security keeps count. Once you reach full retirement age, your benefits are re-calculated and adjusted to give you credit for the months you had to pay back benefits.

Senior man
Senior man (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Full Retirement Age

The year you reach full retirement age (66 or 67 in 2010) has special rules for income limits. You may earn $37,680 prior to your birthday without penalty that year. There is also a monthly rule that may apply, called the special earnings test rule.

Senior couple on computer
Senior couple on computer (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Special Rules

Social Security has a special earnings test rule applied to the year you reach full retirement age. This allows you to make $3,140 or less each month (2010 figure) if you did not perform substantial services in self-employment. You are able to collect full Social Security benefits if you meet this special test.

Senior doctor
Senior doctor (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)


You can retire and receive Social Security benefits any year between 62 for early retirement to 70 for late retirement. Once you reach full retirement age, you may earn any amount and continue to receive full Social Security benefits. The only advantage to waiting to age 70 to collect Social Security benefits is the potential for a larger monthly check from Social Security. After age 70, the benefit amount will not change.

Senior couple on vacation
Senior couple on vacation (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Related Searches


Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

4 Credit Myths That Are Absolutely False

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!