Q: I work part-time while receiving Social Security retirement and will earn less this year than originally estimated. Should I change my estimate with Social Security?
A: Yes, if you expect to earn over annual earnings test amounts, update your 2014 earnings estimate with Social Security now if your original estimate has changed. You can update your estimated earnings anytime during the year.
Your annual gross wage or net self-employment earnings can reduce Social Security benefits for the year until you reach full retirement age (FRA). Earnings test amounts for 2014 are at www.ssa.gov/retire2/whileworking.htm and in How Work Affects Your Benefits (SSA publication 05-10069). Pensions, investment and other non-employment income are not included for earnings test purposes. Earnings test amounts for 2015 are not yet available.
If you have not yet reached full retirement age, keeping your estimated calendar year earnings current with Social Security is important, especially if your original estimate was below the earnings test amount and you will actually earn over it.
If you expect to earn more than originally planned, with earnings to be over the 2014 earnings test amount for your age, updating your estimate now can prevent or reduce the chance of your being incorrectly paid and needing to refund money to Social Security.
If your current estimate is lower than originally expected, updating it now can release any withheld benefits to you faster. Revise your earnings estimate up or down as needed during the year. Report your actual earnings at the end of the year if you earn over the annual limit for your age.
People receiving Social Security because they have a disability do not have an earnings test and should contact Social Security to learn about available incentives if returning to work.
Immediately is the best time to report changes to Social Security, including changes to your address, earnings or marital status. Read “What You Need To Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits” (SSA publication 05-10077).
Change your estimate or report other changes by calling Social Security nationally at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY-1-800-325-0778) from 7:00am – 7:00pm, or contact your local office.