“How much can I make without losing my social security benefits?” Social Security Benefits Limits
Social Security withholds benefits if your earnings exceed a certain level, called a retirement earnings test exempt amount, and if you are under your NRA. One of two different exempt amounts apply — a lower amount in years before the year you attain NRA and a higher amount in the year you attain NRA. These exempt amounts generally increase annually with increases in the national average wage index. Social Security Benefits Limits Below
It is important to note that any benefits withheld while you continue to work are not “lost”. Once you reach NRA, your monthly benefit will be increased permanently to account for the months in which benefits were withheld.
Exempt Amounts for 2015
We determine the exempt amounts using procedures defined in the Social Security Act. For people attaining NRA after 2015, the annual exempt amount in 2015 is $15,720. For people attaining NRA in 2015, the annual exempt amount is $41,880. This higher exempt amount applies only to earnings made in months prior to the month of NRA attainment.
Benefits Withheld When Earnings Exceed Exempt Amounts
We withhold $1 in benefits for every $2 of earnings in excess of the lower exempt amount. We withhold $1 in benefits for every $3 of earnings in excess of the higher exempt amount. Earnings in or after the month you reach NRA do not count toward the retirement test.
|Year||Lower amount a||Higher amount b|
|a Applies in years before the year of attaining NRA.
b Applies in the year of attaining NRA, for months prior to such attainment.
From 1983-1999 the higher exempt amounts applied at ages 65 through 69, as shown in our historical series of exempt amounts.