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How much can I earn and still receive Social Security?

You can work and still receive Social Security if you have reached your full retirement age, which is between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year. This is true no matter how much income you earn.

If you are under your full retirement age and earn more than a specified annual income limit, you may receive a reduced benefit. How much the SSA deducts from your benefit will depend on the amount you earn and your age.

In 2023, your Social Security will be reduced as follows based on your age and earnings.

  • Under full retirement age: the annual earnings limit to receive the full benefit is $21,240, and you will be deducted $1 for every $2 you make above this limit
  • The year you reach full retirement age: the earnings limit is $56,520 but only earnings up to the month before you reach full retirement age are counted; you will be deducted $1 for every $3 you make above this limit
  • Full retirement age and older: there is no annual earnings limit, and therefore no deductions to your Social Security benefit

As long as you earn less than the limits listed above, you are eligible for the amount of Social Security you’re entitled.

Read more: Here's how much money the average middle-class American household makes — how do you stack up?

Note that the SSA only counts income from wages earned or any net profit from being self-employed. It does not count other retirement or veterans benefits, pensions, annuities, investment income or interest as income.

However, your benefit may also be reduced if you receive a retirement or disability benefit from work not covered by Social Security, such as federal civil service, some state or local government work or work performed in a foreign country.

If you only work for part of the year and start receiving Social Security in the middle of the year, you can still collect your full benefit in any month where Social Security considers you retired, regardless of annual earnings.

For 2023, workers below full retirement age for the full year are considered retired if they earn $1,770 or less per month and do not perform substantial self-employment services . Workers who reach full retirement age in 2023 are considered retired in any month they earn $4,710 or less and do not perform substantial self-employment services. "Substantial services in self-employment" means that you work on the business more than 45 hours a month or devote between 15 and 45 hours to a business in a highly skilled occupation.

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How to Get Your Full Social Security Benefit While Working

To make sure you get your full Social Security benefit, follow these three rules:

  • Wait to start receiving benefits until full retirement age: As long as you pass your full retirement age, there is no cap on how much you can earn and still receive your full benefit.
  • Stop work until you reach full retirement age: If you want to start receiving Social Security benefits before you reach full retirement age, take a break from work until you reach full retirement age to avoid breaching the annual income limit.
  • If you receive benefits before full retirement age, keep your income below the annual threshold: This amount is $21,240 as of 2023. If you reach full retirement age in 2023, the limit changes to $56,520 but only earnings up to the month before you reach full retirement age are counted.

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Coryanne Hicks Freelance Contributor

Coryanne is an investing and finance writer whose work appears in Moneywise, U.S. News and World Report, Kiplinger, USA Today and Forbes Advisor, among other publications.

Disclaimer

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