Q: I receive Social Security while working part-time. Last year I worked fewer hours and earned less than originally planned. Do I need to tell Social Security that my earnings were less than expected?
A: Perhaps, depending in part on your age and amount of earnings. If you received SSA retirement or survivors benefits and were younger than full retirement age (FRA) for at least part of last year, report your 2013 employment earnings if your estimated or actual earnings were more than 2013 earnings test amounts for your age.
Before potentially reducing SSA benefits for 2013, a person younger than their full retirement age (FRA) the entire year could earn $15,120. A person reaching FRA during 2013 could earn $40,080 before reducing their retirement benefits. There is no earnings limit starting with the month you reach full retirement age.
A special rule exists for people who retired during the year after already earning over annual limits. This one-time rule lets Social Security pay retirement benefits for any whole month that you are considered retired, even when having high earnings prior to retirement.
Earnings for the annual earnings test include only your own gross wages from employment and net-income from self-employment.
Your estimated earnings amount was used to pay benefits during the year.
If your 2013 estimate was high, perhaps you are due more from Social Security. If your estimate was low, perhaps you need to return funds. If needed, report your actual 2013 earnings when you receive your W-2 form or compute your self-employment income. Report by calling the SSA national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or your local office.
Are you working in 2014 while receiving Social Security retirement or survivors benefits Earnings test amounts for 2014 are at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/whileworking.htm. Examples of how the annual earnings test is applied are there.
Provide an estimated earnings amount to Social Security when you are receiving SSA retirement or survivors benefits and expect to earn more than the 2014 amounts for your age. Estimates can be changed during the year as needed.
The earnings test does not apply if you receive benefits because you have a disability. In this case, report starting or ending work to Social Security at the time.


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