elderly woman working in office



How Many Hours Can You Work and Still Collect Social Security?

Social Security benefits are designed to be paid out after you retire. However, you can continue to work as long as you like and still collect Social Security. But continuing to work after you start to collect Social Security benefits may reduce your benefits, especially if you haven’t reached full retirement age.

Here are 3 common scenarios and how working affects your benefits.

Working before full retirement age

“Full Retirement Age” varies depending on the year you were born.

The Social Security full retirement age is:

  • 65 for those born in 1937 and earlier.
  • 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954.
  • 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

                                                     Key Points

If your full retirement age is 66 and you sign up to collect Social Security at age 62, you will get 25% smaller Social Security payments. Note that, those with a full retirement age of 66 can accrue up to four years of delayed retirement credits and increase monthly payments by as much as 32% by waiting to collect Social Security benefits

If you are still working when you start start to collect Social Security benefits and you haven't reached your full retirement age, for every $2 you earn above a certain limit, the SSA will withhold $1 of your earnings. For 2022, the earnings limit is $19,560. So if you are under full retirement age and you earn $39,560 in 2022, your Social Security benefits will be reduced by $10,000.

Moreover, the number of hours you can work depends on how long it will take you to reach $19,500 at your salary.

Working the year you reach full retirement age

The year you reach full retirement age, you can earn up to 51,960 in 2022 before your benefits are reduced. Your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 you earn above the earnings limit.

It is important to realize that this reduction ends the month you reach full retirement age

Working After full retirement age

There are no penalties for working after you reach full retirement age. You will receive your full monthly benefit even if you work full time , start a business or whatever you decide.

Farmer picking plums

Good News

The good news is that even  if your benefits were decreased because you started to collect Social Security before your full retirement age, Social Security will recalculate them once you reach full retirement age and make up for the deferred benefits.

Passive Income

If all of your income is passive, it will not affect your Social Security benefits. Social Security only counts wage or salary from your job and net profit from self employment as income. Investment income, pensions, veterans benefits, annuities, interest and government or military benefits are not counted.