Ask Bob: How Will My Working Affect My Spouse's Social Security Benefit?

Robert Powell, CFP®

Question

I understand that the retirement earnings test applies only to people below normal retirement age and that Social Security will withhold benefits if my earnings exceed a certain level. But does that apply to my husband's Social Security benefit as well? I've received two different answers from Social Security.

Answer

Yes, earnings beyond the annual threshold while you are younger than full retirement age or what Social Security sometimes calls normal retirement can result in withholding not only of your benefit but also the benefit that anybody else (other than an ex-spouse) is receiving on your work record, says Mike Piper, author of Social Security Made Simple.

For more, read § 404.415. Deductions because of excess earnings, subsection (b). 

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