In 2017, the annual earnings limit is $16,920 if you’re under full retirement age. If you will reach full retirement age in 2017, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $44,880.
Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, there is no limit on how much you can earn and still receive your benefits.
Let's look at a couple of examples: You are receiving Social Security retirement benefits every month in 2017 and you
Are under full retirement age all year. You are entitled to $800 a month in benefits.
($9,600 for the year)
You work and earn $26,920 ($10,000 over the $16,920 limit) during the year. Your Social Security benefits would be reduced by $5,000 ($1 for every $2 you earned over the limit), but you would still receive $4,600 of your $9,600 in benefits for the year.
($9,600 - $5,000 = $4,600)
Reach full retirement age in August 2017. You are entitled to $800 per month in benefits.
($9,600 for the year)
You work and earn $63,000 during the year, with $47,000 of it in the 7 months from January through July.
($2,120 over the $44,880 limit)
Your Social Security benefits would be reduced through July by $706 ($1 for every $3 you earned over the limit). You would still receive $4,894 out of your $5,600 benefits for the first 7 months ($800 a month January through July).
($5,600 - $706 = $4,894)
Beginning in August 2017, when you reach full retirement age, you would receive your full benefit ($800 per month), no matter how much you earn.
When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net profit if you're self-employed. We include bonuses, commissions and vacation pay. We don't count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans or other government or military retirement benefits.
Also, as long as you continue to work and receive benefits, we will check your record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, we will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.
In addition, after you reach full retirement age, we will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for any months in which you did not receive a benefit because of your earnings. We will send you a letter telling you about any increase in your benefit amount.
If you are eligible for retirement benefits this year and are still working, you can use our earnings test calculator to see how your earnings could affect your benefit payments.