The short answer is “Yes”. But you may not want to depending on when you plan to turn on your social security benefits and how much you plan to earn each year from working.
Electing social security benefits AFTER your Normal Retirement Age
For social security, your Normal Retirement Age (NRA), is the age you are eligible to receive full retirement benefits. Your NRA is based on your date of birth and the table is listed below:
Once you reach your NRA, you are allowed to begin receiving social security benefits without having to worry about the social security “earnings test”. Meaning that you can earn as much as you want working and they will not reduce your social security benefit. You are free and clear.
Electing social security benefits BEFORE your Normal Retirement Age
If you turn on your social security benefits prior to reaching your Normal Retirement Age, you will be subject to the “earnings test” each year. For social security recipients who will not reach full retirement age in the 2016 calendar year, the first $15,720 in earnings is exempt. Beyond that amount, every $2 in earnings will reduce your social security benefits by $1. It’s a fairly steep penalty. The general rule is if you plan to earn over the $15,720 threshold and you will not hit your normal retirement age for social security in 2016, do not elect to begin taking social security early because you will lose most of it from the “earned income penalty”.
Electing social security benefits in the year your reach “Normal Retirement Age”
For social security recipients who will attain full retirement age during 2016, the first $41,880 is exempt, and the reduction is just $1 for every $3 in earnings beyond that point. Plus, only the months before your birthday count toward the total.
We advise our clients in this situation to keep their pay stub from the payroll period prior to reaching Normal Retirement Age because the IRS may contact them the following year to prove the amount of income that they earned prior to receiving their first social security payment.
Hi, I’m Michael Ruger. I’m the managing partner of Greenbush Financial Group and the creator of the nationally recognized Money Smart Board blog . I created the blog because there are a lot of events in life that require important financial decisions. The goal is to help our readers avoid big financial missteps, discover financial solutions that they were not aware of, and to optimize their financial future.