Receive Social Security? Working? Remember your annual earnings report.

Q: Last year I started Social Security retirement. As it turned out, I did not continue to work part-time although that had been my original plan. Do I need to report that my earnings were less than expected for last year?

A: If younger than full retirement age (FRA) for part of last year, report your 2012 employment earnings to Social Security if your estimated or actual earnings exceeded your 2012 annual earnings test amounts. This applies whether you started Social Security retirement or survivors benefits last year or in a previous year. Earnings test amounts for 2012 are in Social Security publication 05-10077, “What you need to know when you get retirement or survivors benefits” noted below. 

Earnings for the annual earnings test include only your own gross wages from employment and net-income from self-employment.  

Your estimated earnings amount for a year is used to pay benefits during that year. If your 2012 estimate was high, perhaps you are due funds that were withheld. If your estimate was low, perhaps you need to return funds.

For basic reporting requirements, read Social Security publication 05-10077, “What you need to know when you get retirement or survivors benefits” online or available from any SSA office.

To report your 2012 earnings, call the Social Security national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or contact your local office.

Working in 2013? Annual earnings test amounts are at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/whileworking.htm. Provide an estimated earnings amount to Social Security if you receive a SSA retirement or survivors benefit, are younger than full retirement age for at least part of 2013, and expect to earn over the 2013 earnings test level for your age.This estimate will help keep your benefit amount accurate. Your estimate 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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