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When does the earnings limit on Social Security benefits expire?

You can earn any amount and not be affected by the Social Security earnings test once you reach full retirement age, or FRA, which is 66 and 2 months if you were born in 1955 and will gradually increase to 67 for people born in 1960 and later.

In 2021, if you collect benefits before full retirement age and continue to work, the Social Security Administration will temporarily withhold $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn over $18,960. If you will reach FRA in 2021, the earnings limit goes up to $50,520, and $1 is deducted from your benefits for every $3 you earn over that. Once you actually attain full retirement age, the earnings limit goes away.

The only Social Security benefits affected by working after reaching full retirement age are benefits paid to disabled adult children collecting on a parent’s earnings record.

Keep in mind

If you did have benefits withheld before reaching full retirement age due to work income, you can recoup them afterward. When you hit full retirement age, Social Security bumps up your monthly benefit to make up, over time, for the withholding.

Updated December 28, 2020

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