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Examples: When you work and get Social Security at the same time

Updated: May 14, 2008
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You can continue to work and earn above the annual earnings limit and still get some of your benefits.

Let's look at a couple of examples: You are receiving Social Security retirement benefits every month in 2008 and you

  • Are under full retirement age all year. You are entitled to $800 a month in benefits ($9,600 for the year).

    You work and earn $21,560 ($8,000 over the $13,560 limit) during the year. Your Social Security benefits would be reduced by $4,000 ($1 for every $2 you earned over the limit), but you would still receive $5,600 of your $9600 in benefits for the year. ($9,600 - $4,000 = $5,600)

  • Reach full retirement age in August 2008. You are entitled to $800 per month in benefits ($9,600 for the year).

    You work and earn $62,000 during the year, with $38,130 ($2,010 over the $36,120 limit) of it in the 7 months from January through July.

    • Your Social Security benefits would be reduced through July by $670 ($1 for every $3 you earned over the limit). You would still receive $4,930 out of your $5,600 benefits for the first 7 months (January through July). ($5,600 - $670 = $4,930)

    • Beginning in August 2008, when you reach full retirement age, you would receive your full benefit ($800 per month), no matter how much you earn.

When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net profit if you're self-employed. We include bonuses, commissions and vacation pay. We don't count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans or other government or military retirement benefits.

Also, as long as you continue to work and receive benefits, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.

In addition, after you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for any months in which you did not receive a benefit because of your earnings. We will send you a letter telling you about any increase in your benefit amount.

If you are eligible for retirement benefits this year and are still working, you can use our earnings test calculator to see how your earnings could affect your benefit payments.

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