You can get Social Security retirement benefits and work at the same time. However, if you are younger than full retirement age and make more than the yearly earnings limit, we will reduce your benefit. Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, we will not reduce your benefits no matter how much you earn.
We use the following earnings limits to reduce your benefits: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.
For 2021 that limit is $18,960.
In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.
If you will reach full retirement age in 2021, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $50,520.
Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.
TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY
Up to 85% of your Social Security benefits can be taxable on your federal tax return. There is no age limit for having to pay taxes on Social Security benefits if you have other sources of income along with the SS benefits. When you have other income such as earnings from continuing to work, investment income, pensions, etc. up to 85% of your SS can be taxable.
What confuses people about this is that before you reach full retirement age, if you continue working while drawing SS, your benefits can be reduced if you earn over a certain limit. (For 2017 that limit was $16,920 —for 2018 it will be $17,040—for 2019 it will be $17,640— for 2020 it will be $18,240) After full retirement age, no matter how much you continue to earn, your benefits are not reduced by your earnings; your employer will still have to withhold for Social Security and Medicare.
To see how much of your Social Security was taxable, look at lines 6a and 6b of your 2020 Form 1040
You need to file a federal return if half your Social Security plus your other income is $25,000 when filing single or head of household, or $32,000 when filing married filing jointly, $0 if you are filing married filing separately.
Some additional information: There are 13 states that tax Social Security—Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. These states offer varying degrees of income exemptions, but four mirror the federal tax schedule: MN, ND,VT, and WV
Thank you for the information. The confusing part is this:
After full retirement age, no matter how much you continue to earn, your benefits are not reduced by your earnings. The key part is SS benefits for me.
There is a big difference between benefits being taxable and being reduced by earnings and it does confuse people.