If the $15,000 was from a private disability insurance, it would not count.
THIS IS DIRECTLY FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY RULES:
Sometimes people who retire in midyear already have earned more than the
yearly earnings limit. That is why there
is a special rule that applies to earnings
for one year, usually the first year of
retirement. Under this rule, you can
get a full Social Security check for any
whole month you are retired, regardless
of your yearly earnings.
In 2013, a person under full retirement
age for the entire year is considered
retired if monthly earnings
or less. For example, XXXXX XXXXX retires
at age 62 on October 30, 2013. He will
make $45,000 through October.
He takes a part-time job beginning
in November earning $500 per month.
Although his earnings for the year
substantially exceed the 2013 annual
limit ($15,120), he will receive a Social
Security payment for November and
December. This is because his earnings
in those months are $1,260 or less, the
monthly limit for people younger than
full retirement age. If Mr. Smith earns
more than $1,260 in either of those
months (November or December), he
will not receive a benefit for that month.
Beginning in 2014, only the yearly limits
will apply to him