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Ask Dr. Fiona Chen Your Own Question
Dr. Fiona Chen
Dr. Fiona Chen, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 482
Experience:  Former IRS Revenue Agent
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If my full retirement year is 2017- birthday is October,

Customer Question

If my full retirement year is 2017-
birthday is ***** when do they start the $41,800 rule?? from whatever month you apply for SS before October or from January 1rst of that year ?? I may want to retire in March. If your income drops by 40% in the year prior to retiring , how much do they decrease monthly amount ??
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Dr. Fiona Chen replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

The SSA takes the highest 35 months of a person's earning record. Upon the full retirement month and year, you may apply for the social security, e.g., one or two months prior to your birthday. Then, the payment starts one month after you reached the full retirement age. The payment is always one month later, and it is the payment for the prior month.

Once you reach FRA, there is no penalty for working and claiming Social Security at the same time and your benefits will not be adjusted for earned income. The limit applies to the year you reach the full retirement age year.

p.s. You can collect Social Security even if you are still working or earning self-employed income—with a few important caveats. If you collect before your FRA, you can earn up to $15,480 without any impact on your benefit. However, if you exceed the earnings limit before your FRA, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 you earn over $15,480. In the year in which you reach FRA, $1 is deducted for every $3 you earn above $41,800 (the limit in 2015).

According to the information below from SSA, if we retire 7 months prior to the full retirement month, the percentage reduction is 100%- 96.7%, that is, 3.3% of the full amount.

This is just a sample amount. For the specific number, the SSA is still the final authority. You may want to contact social security directly to get specific numbers because you are very close to the actual retirement month as you plan.


Fiona Chen, MPA, Ph.D., CPA, ABV, CFF, CITP