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Financial Questions & Answers

Financial Questions & Answers

Question:

My Social Security statement says if I start receiving benefits at age 62, I’m entitled to $433 a month. I tried applying for my benefits but was told because of my current earnings, I’m not entitled to receive any benefits. Is that correct? – Antonio

Answer:

You’re another good Leo (June is one, too!). You probably just need to wait until you actually retire to apply for benefits. Social Security has a “retirement earnings test” for those who apply for Social Security retirement benefits while still working and prior to their full retirement age – for folks born between 1943 and 1954 full retirement age is 66. In 2011, the earnings limit before full retirement age is $14,160. If you have earnings that exceed that number Social Security will deduct $1 from each $2 earned over $14,160. Obviously, you’re well above that level. If you wait until after you retire you won’t be subject to that test because retirement benefits and investment income aren’t counted and you should be able to draw Social Security without incident or accident! But, remember this, each year you wait to file for Social Security, you get a nice government pay raise. If you don’t need it in December, you might consider holding off.