I retired from the USAF in 1994. I am now 52 and receiving my military pension, as well as a 10-percent disability-rated payment. When I qualify for Social Security, will I continue to receive all three benefits in their entirety? – Ben
Thank you so much for your service. And thanks for looking ahead in planning your retirement income stream. That makes a financial planner’s job easier. As you know, you will be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits for the first time at 62. Considering your current age, your Normal Retirement Age (NRA) is approximately 66 (see chart here (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/retirechart.htm) for your exact NRA). So if you begin benefits at 62, they will be permanently reduced, but only because you started them early, not due to receipt of any military retirement or disability benefits.
However, if you take Social Security before your NRA, say at 62, those benefits can be reduced because of “excess earnings.” The amount you can earn without impacting Social Security changes annually, and in 2010, you cannot earn more than $14,160. This must be earned income, so your pension will not be held against you. For every $2 you earn in excess of $14,160, you will lose $1 of Social Security benefits. So if you plan to work later on in life, you’d be better off delaying Social Security. Once you reach your NRA, the sky is the limit, as your earnings will not impact your Social Security benefits. Good luck.