If you’re nearing retirement age and planning to keep working after applying for Social Security, it’s a good idea to determine how your wages may impact what you receive in Social Security benefits.

Social Security gives and takes away, depending on your age and what you earn elsewhere. But if your earnings do reduce your Social Security payments, the contributions you’re making to the system while working may increase your overall average earnings and increase your benefits.

The Social Security system is complex so it’s wise to plan ahead when nearing retirement and considering part-time work after you do. For more than 15 years, Johnson & Gilbert’s Florida attorneys have helped workers resolve Social Security issues.

Age Plays Role in Social Security Benefits for Part-Time Workers

Many people work after signing up for Social Security. Generally, their age determines how much Social Security will withhold from retirement benefits. Earnings exceeding certain limits cut into benefits for those who haven’t reached full retirement age, currently 66 for persons born between 1943 and 1954. Full retirement age is gradually being extended to 67 for persons born in 1960 or later.

In 2013, persons below full retirement age can earn up to $15,120 annually. Social Security benefits are reduced $1 for each $2 in earnings above the maximum. In the year full retirement age will be reached, benefits are reduced $1 for every $3 earned over $40,080 until the month full retirement age is reached, after which full benefits will be paid regardless how much is earned.

In cases where benefits were reduced for persons below full retirement age, Social Security will increase benefits once full retirement age is reached to compensate for months benefits were reduced. Johnson & Gilbert’s lawyers work to insure their Florida clients receive all Social Security benefits due.

Special Rules Apply for Mid-Year Retirees

If a person who has not reached full retirement age of 66 in 2013 retires and works part-time before the end of the year and has already surpassed the Social Security earnings limit for the year, benefits may still be paid under a special “monthly” rule as long as part-time earnings do not exceed $1,260. Benefits will not be paid for any month more than that amount is paid. Beginning in 2014, the person’s benefits will be solely based on annual earnings.

The monthly rule differs for the self-employed. It is based on how much time a person spends on the job. Generally benefits are not paid for months in which the self-employed person works more than 45 hours.

There are many situations requiring special attention when working with Social Security, including:

  • Dealing with deferred income
  • Eligibility for the monthly rule
  • Your wages were over the limit, but you also had a net loss in self-employment
  • You are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in addition to Social Security benefits
  • Switching from a deceased spouse’s benefits to your own because yours are higher. These benefits may be higher at age 62 or as late as age 70. Social Security acknowledges the complexity of these rules and notes they vary depending on individual circumstances
  • Determining benefits when dependent or disabled children are involved

Ormond Beach lawyers at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A., can help Florida workers with Social Security problems ranging from benefits to filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Call them at 386.673.4412 or toll-free at 800.556.8890 for a free consultation.


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