When you are working throughout your life, you pay a tax that can seem like a nuisance. It carries these initials: FICA. Though this can seem like money down the drain, in fact, if you live long enough you do get something for your contributions.
As you are paying these taxes, you are earning retirement credits that can provide you with eligibility for Social Security and Medicare.
It is relatively easy to earn the maximum amount of credits that you are allowed to accumulate in a calendar year. You can earn up to four credits each year, and in 2015, you get one credit for every $1220 that you earn. So, if you make a minimal amount of money for at least 10 years, you will qualify for Social Security and Medicare coverage.
Age of Full Social Security Eligibility
You may think that you become eligible for your full Social Security benefit when you reach a particular age, regardless of your year of birth. This would seem like a logical way to go about it, but the powers that be have created a rather complicated system that doesn’t make a lot of sense to some people.
Here is the way it goes: if you were born between 1943 and 1954, you become eligible for your full benefit at the age of 66. That is straightforward enough, but after that, the age of eligibility goes up by two months each year. To clarify, if you were born in 1955, you would become eligible for your full benefit two months after your 66th birthday. If you were born in 1956, you would become eligible for your full benefit four months after you celebrate your 66th birthday.
This arrangement continues until 1960, when the full retirement age reaches 67 years of age. People born in 1960 and after become eligible for their full Social Security benefit at the age of 67.
Working While Collecting
If you work after you have started to receive your full Social Security benefit, there are no penalties. You can earn unlimited money on your own, and you would still receive your full benefit, plain and simple.
It is possible to accept an early retirement benefit when you are as young as 62. If you go this route, your benefit is reduced by somewhere between 25 and 30 percent. The exact amount of the reduction would depend upon your birth year.
Things are different if you work while you are collecting an early benefit. In 2015, there is an earned income limit of $15,720 per year. You can continue to draw this much tax-free, but you would have to pay a penalty on earnings that exceed this amount. The penalty would be one dollar for every two dollars earned that is in excess of $15,720.
Retirement Planning Consultation
If you have questions about Social Security and retirement planning, contact us through this page to request a free consultation: Hartford CT Retirement Planning Attorneys.