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  How much can I earn and still receive Social Security benefits?
  How much can I earn and still receive Social Security benefits?

Note: There are different rules for people receiving Social Security Disability.  Also, if you retire in the middle of a year, a Click Here.

SSA uses the formulas below, depending on your age, to determine how much your benefit must be reduced:

  • If you are under normal (or full) retirement age (FRA): when you start getting your Social Security payments, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2008 that limit is $13,560 and for 2007, that limit is $12,960. Remember, the earliest age that you can receive Social Security retirement benefits remains 62 even though the FRA is rising.
  • In the year you reach your FRA: $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $3 you earn above a different limit, but only counting earnings before the month you reach FRA. For 2008, this limit is $36,120; for 2007, this limit is $34,440.
  • Starting with the month you reach FRA:, you will get your benefits with NO limit on your earnings.
  • If a child or spouse on your record works while receiving benefits, the same earnings limits apply to him or her as apply to you. If your child or spouse is eligible for benefits this year and is also working, you can use our earnings test calculator to see how those earnings would affect the child's benefit payments. (Your child's or spouse's earnings affect only his or her own benefits. They do not affect your benefits or those of any other beneficiaries on your record.)

Use the following calculator to determine the effect of the earnings test on your Social Security benefits:

Enter your date of birth:      
Your estimated earnings:  
If you reach your normal (or full) retirement age this year, enter only those earnings made prior to the month you reach this age. The retirement earnings test does not apply once you reach normal retirement age.
Your estimated monthly benefit: (before application of the retirement test)
Is the current year the first year you are receiving benefits?    
Note: special rules apply in the first year you retire.


For information on the earnings limits for prior years, see Exempt Amounts Under the Earnings Test.

Please Note: Earned income is defined as income from wages or net earnings from self-employment. Pensions, 401K distributions, dividends, interest, and IRA distributions are NOT earned income.

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