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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

If I begin receiving my Social Security benefits early at age 62 and continue to work, will my benefits increase when I reach full retirement age?

En español | If you simultaneously receive Social Security benefits and work, you may be subject to the Retirement Earnings Test (RET). The RET does not apply if you've reached full retirement age. But for the years prior to reaching that age, benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 in earnings over $15,120 (2012 figure). For the year in which you reach full retirement age, a different formula applies. For the months prior to the month of your birthday, you are allowed to earn $40,080 (2013 figure) without reduction of benefits. If you exceed that figure, benefits are reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings above $40,080. Once you reach full retirement age, your benefits are recomputed and you are given credits for any months in which your benefit was reduced due to the RET. So, the answer to the question is a qualified yes: If you take retirement benefits at age 62 and continue to work and have benefits reduced, Social Security will recompute your benefit when you reach full retirement age. If benefits were suspended in full for the entire four years, you will be given credit for those months your benefit was reduced and will receive a full retirement benefit. It is also possible that, even if you don't lose benefits due to the RET, your work after 62 will raise your benefit by improving your overall life work record.

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