Can I Work While Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits?

by | Published on Aug 7, 2019 | Social Security Disability

Though a part-time job after retirement could make your life better, this job might make changes in your social security benefits. It is ideal to consult a disability benefits lawyer or advocate, if you are confused about your income limits and to check whether your part time income will impact your SSD benefits. An experienced lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence with the support of a medical review company and will make sure that you maximize your chance of receiving the disability benefits you need.

If you are receiving disability benefits from the SSA and working at the same time, certain factors that may affect your disability benefits status are –

  • Your Social Security benefits might be temporarily reduced
  • The Social Security earnings limit depends on your age
  • The amount you earn can impact the benefits you receive
  • You might be eligible for a higher Social Security benefit later

Key Factors the SSA Considers

Certain factors the SSA will consider for working people who are receiving Social Security benefits are:

Your Full Retirement Age (FRA)

Your FRA has a key role to play while calculating SSD benefits, while you are still working. If you have reached full retirement age, you can earn as much as you wish without it affecting your Social Security benefits. At the same time, if you have not reached FRA and are collecting Social Security benefits, then you will be subject to income limits and your benefits will be reduced. Your FRA is based on the year you were born. The full retirement age for anyone born between 1943 and 1954 is 66 years. Individuals born in 1960 or later have a full retirement age of 67.

As of 2019, income limits have changed, but the youngest age you can begin receiving Social Security benefits remains at 62. Certain situations in which you become eligible to receive Social Security benefits long before you reach your retirement age include: Early retirement benefits, Spousal benefits, Survivors benefits and Disability benefits.

You can get Social Security retirement or survivors’ benefits and work at the same time. But, if you’re younger than full retirement age, and earn more than a certain amount, your benefits will be reduced. The amount by which your benefits are reduced, however, isn’t truly lost. Your benefit will increase at your full retirement age to account for benefits withheld due to earlier earnings. (Spouses and survivors who receive benefits because they have minor or disabled children in their care, don’t receive increased benefits at full retirement age if benefits were withheld because of work.)

How much you earn

In 2019, for anyone under full retirement age, the annual earnings limit is $1,470 per month or $17,640. If you earn more than this amount, you can expect to have $1 withheld from your Social Security benefit for every $2 earned above the limit.

For those who reached full retirement age in 2019, the limit on their earnings is $46,920 with no benefit reductions in the months leading up to the month you reach full retirement age. If you exceed this income limit, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will deduct $1 for each $3 you earn above the limit. Beginning with the month in which you reach full retirement age, you can make unlimited income and receive full Social Security benefits without any reduction.

The rules for receiving benefits while you are working are different, for those working outside the United States. In such a case, for anyone under full retirement age, the SSA will hold back benefits for every month you work more than 45 hours outside the United States in employment or self-employment. Your benefit is not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

Exceeding the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) income limit while working part time on disability may also affect your benefits. Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) is any work that brings in a certain amount of income per month. SSA uses SGA as a factor to determine whether or not you are disabled, because if you are able to make over a certain amount of money per month, you can make competitive income in the national economy with your condition. Even if your part-time income is low and do not increase the SGA limit, the SSA may still evaluate your work ability.

The SSA calculates your benefit amount based on earnings received, whether you were self-employed or worked for a company. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits and still work in a limited capacity, you can consult a board-certified Social Security disability attorney. Such lawyers will benefit from medical record organization and similar services provided by professional medical record retrieval companies.

Discover our medical record review solutions and partner with us for your next case.

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