Weather Forecast


Social Security: Take earnings test to discover when it’s the best time to retire

Q: I have been working all year and will retire soon. For earnings limits, does Social Security start counting my wages with the day I start retirement or from the beginning of the year? Can I start SSA retirement now or must I wait until 2015 due to my earnings?

A: This question is about the annual retirement earnings test (

Earnings for the retirement test include only your own calendar year gross wages and net income from self-employment. If at least age 62 and meeting all requirements, you can start Social Security retirement when you want, whether this year after you retire, in 2015, or some other time.

People retire all during the year. Since those retiring mid-year might have already earned over earnings test levels for the year, there is a special one-time rule, usually used during the first year of retirement, that lets people receive Social Security retirement benefits based on monthly earnings.

Using this one-time exception, you should be able to start SSA retirement when you retire despite your total earnings for this year.

Details are at the provided earnings test link.

Based on this one-time rule, a person retiring in 2014, at least age 62 but younger than full retirement age the entire year, can receive Social Security retirement for months that gross wages do not exceed $1,290 even though overall calendar year earnings are far above retirement test amounts.

Slightly different rules apply for self-employment. Earnings test amounts for 2015 are not yet known, but 2014 information is online.

Did You Know? Is your “someday” an elusive day on the far-off horizon? Is it close enough to see, but too distant to touch?

Someday, you want to retire. Someday, you want to start retirement planning, even if just starting your career.  Someday, you want to estimate your future Social Security retirement or family benefits and check your earnings record for accuracy.

 Someday has arrived. Create your personal, secure and free my Social Security account at with services for people not yet or already receiving SSA benefits.

Someone opens a new account just about every six seconds. Have you?

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota.  Send general interest questions to him at Read his online articles at