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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

Can rental income cause a reduction in a current Social Security benefit?

En español | Social Security has an earnings limit that can reduce early retirement benefits – benefits that a person begins before reaching full retirement age.

For every $2 earned above the annual limit, $15,120 for 2013, Social Security withholds $1 in benefits. (A different formula applies for the year that the person reaches full retirement age.) Earnings made as an employee, net earnings from self-employment, bonuses and awards are among the things that count in calculating the person's income.

But Social Security will not count other kinds of income, including income from rental properties. Other exempt income includes lawsuit payments, inheritances, pensions, investment dividends, IRA distributions and interest. The limit goes away after full retirement age – the person is free to earn unlimited amounts without any effect on benefits.

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