Can You Work While Applying for Social Security Benefits?

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The Social Security Administration is a federal entity that was first created to provide retirement benefits to American citizens and workers. Within time, the federal government added other benefits to the Social Security program, most of which were also based on Social Security tax payments. Some of these benefits include disability benefits, survivor benefits and health insurance, also known as Medicare.

Social Security Disability

  • Social Security Disability is one of the Social Security benefits. It is paid to people who are disabled and have paid Social Security tax. These benefits are paid based on the severity of your disability and your ability to work. When deciding if you qualify to receive benefits, the Social Security Administration analyzes your capability of doing your previous job without major effort. If you are, it does not consider you disabled. If you are not, the administration analyzes your ability to do a new job. If you are not able, you qualify to receive benefits. However, you may be working at the time you apply for these benefits if your total earnings do not exceed $1,000 per month.

Social Security Retirement

  • Social Security Retirement benefits are benefits paid at retirement age to individuals who paid Social Security tax. You can retire at age 62, but full retirement age is at 66 if you were born before 1960 or 67 if you were born later. You can continue working while you apply for these benefits, as well as while you are receiving them. However, before full retirement age, the Social Security office deducts $1 out of every $2 you earn for income above $14,160 in 2011. In the year you reach full retirement age, the Social Security office deducts $1 out $3 you earn for income above $37,680 for the months before your birthday. After the birthday on which you reach full retirement age, you receive all of your benefits independently of your work.

Medicare

  • Medicare is another benefit provided by the Social Security Administration. Medicare is public health insurance program for senior citizens and disabled people. Medicare benefits start at age 65. You can enroll in Medicare if you are still working. Medicare Part A is free for people who have paid Medicare tax. If you qualify to receive Medicare benefits because you are disabled and receiving Social Security Disability benefits and then go back to work, your free benefits only last for eight more years. However, after your benefits end, you can purchase Medicare if you are still disabled.

Supplemental Security Income

  • Supplemental Security Income is also a Social Security benefit, although it is funded by general revenue tax rather than Social Security tax. These benefits are paid to individuals who are blind, disabled or older than age 65 and who have low income. You can work while you apply for these benefits as well as while you are receiving them. However, you cannot earn more than $1,000 per month if you are working. The amount of income you receive determines how much you may receive in benefits. As of 2011, the maximum federal SSI benefit is $674 if you are single and $1,011 if you are married.

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