Q: My main income is from land rent and a part-time job. Will this prevent me from receiving Social Security retirement at age 62 next year?
A: Land rent is not a concern for Social Security annual earnings test purposes. It will not prevent you from receiving Social Security retirement. Only your own gross wages or net self-employment for the calendar year is considered for the earnings test.
At age 62, you are younger than full retirement age (FRA) so your part-time earnings might lower the amount of retirement payable depending on how much they are. In 2013, earnings over $15,120 could affect benefits for people younger than FRA the entire year. Earnings test information for 2013 is at www.ssa.gov/retire2/whileworking.htm. Earnings test levels for 2014 are not known yet.
Keep in mind that you do not need to start Social Security retirement just because you are age 62, even if you are retired. Will you need the SSA income at 62? Compared to waiting until full retirement age (FRA), starting at age 62 leaves your benefit amount permanently reduced, excluding cost-of-living changes, by about 25 percent. In other words, a $1,000 monthly benefit at FRA of age 66 is reduced to $750 at age 62. Since benefits increase a small percentage with each month delayed, totaling about 8 percent annually, until you reach age 70, you could delay starting Social Security in favor of a higher amount in the future.
You could be retired for many years and having a higher SSA benefit might be important in years to come. The SSA Retirement Planner section has calculators and details to consider when making your decision. More items for you to consider are in the SSA publication When to Start Receiving Retirement Benefits in the Retirement Planner section.
You decide when to start your Social Security retirement. Whatever you decide, you can complete your retirement application online.