Can You Collect Social Security at 66 and Still Work Full Time?

Published on: January 6, 2023

If you collect Social Security at 66, the amount you earn by working may result in a loss of some or all of your benefits. Unless you were born before 1960, full retirement age is not until you reach age 67. 

If you collect retirement benefits earlier than full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will deduct $1 for each $2 in earnings that exceed $21,240 in 2023. The earnings deduction is $1 for every $3 in earnings above $56,520 as long as you will reach your full retirement age during 2023. 

Knowing the rules for working while receiving Social Security benefits is essential whether you receive retirement benefits or disability benefits. In both instances, work earnings will affect your Social Security benefits. The following information about Social Security work rules from Disability Experts of Florida will help you to be smart about working full time in order to avoid jeopardizing your benefits. 

When Is the Full Retirement Age For Social Security?

 A common misconception about the Social Security retirement program is that you can start collecting benefits at age 65. You must have reached full retirement age to work full time without it affecting your benefits, but full retirement age is not the same for everyone. It depends on when you were born.

If you were born on or after January 2, 1960, your full retirement age is 67, but the following shows you the age for full retirement for people born before 1960: 

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There is an early retirement option at age 62, but it may reduce your benefits by 30% and, because it is before you reach the age of full retirement, earnings from an employer or through self-employment may reduce the benefits even more.

When you receive Social Security benefits before reaching full retirement age. wages from a job working for an employer and self-employment income that you earn working for yourself may reduce the retirement benefits. If you take early retirement and will reach full retirement age during 2023, there is a $1 reduction in benefits for each $3 that you have in earnings in excess of $56,520. 

The reduction is $1 for each $2 in earnings in excess of $21,240 if you will not achieve full retirement age during 2023. Something to keep in mind is that the deduction only applies to income from work and net income from self-employment, so you can have income from investments without it affecting your monthly benefits. Once you reach full retirement age, the earnings deductions no longer apply.

The benefits that you do not receive because of work income are not lost to you. The withheld benefits are taken into account when you reach full retirement age to increase the retirement payments that you receive.

Working Full Time While Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits 

Work rules become more complicated when you are disabled and collecting Social Security disability benefits. If you have earnings from work of more than $1,470 a month, you are considered capable of engaging in substantial gainful activity and not disabled. However, you may qualify for a trial work period while receiving disability benefits.

If you are disabled and collect Social Security disability benefits, you can test your ability to still work full time through a trial work period. Money that you earn during the trial period does not reduce the disability benefits that you get from Social Security.

A trial work period may last for up to nine months, but they do not have to be consecutive. You must, however, complete the trial period within 60 months.

During the trial period, you get to keep whatever you earn from working for an employer or through self-employment even if it exceeds the substantial gainful activity amount of $1,470 per month. A month in which you have earnings that do not exceed $1,050 is not counted as one of the nine months of the trial period.

At the end of the trial work period, you may continue to work under a 36-month extended period of eligibility. Work earnings will not affect your eligibility to receive monthly disability benefits provided the earnings do not exceed the $1,470 substantial gainful activity amount. If you do earn too much, your benefits may stop. However, as long as you are under an extended period of eligibility, there is an expedited reinstatement process to have the benefits restored within five years should your earnings decline or stop.

Get More Information From A Disability Advocate

You can get more information about the rules to collect Social Security at 66 from a disability advocate at Disability Experts of Florida. Contact us today to arrange for a free, no obligation consultation.

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