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62 and can't find answers

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Hi Devin

I'll turn 62 on November 25th, 2018... Here is my scenario and probably many others can relate to these figures. So I plan to work until April 30th 2019. I will make about 

$2468 a month for those four months and on May 1, 2019 my income will be $0.00 and no job... My SS benefit will be $1760 at age 62, so how much would I actually receive if

I wanted to start collecting on Jan 1, 2019?  How about April 30th 2019? And when should I file if these two dates mentioned are when I want to see my benefit? By going over the 

income allowed per month, until April 30th would I get anything from Jan 1st to April 30th or would I get nothing until my monthly income drops at or below $1420 (2018 dollar amount)?


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You've discovered a murky sinkhole of rules in the SSA. As most people are aware, there is an annual earnings limit if you file for benefits. However, there is also a monthly test for certain time periods. This monthly test was created to be favorable, but the result is sometimes less favorable than the annual test would be. 

For the monthly test to be applied, you must be in a "Grace Year" as defined by the SSA. A "Grace Year" is the first taxable year in which you have a month with earnings below the monthly exempt amount (the SSA refers to this on their site as a NSM - non service month). 

The "Grace Year" is meant to accommodate individuals who wish to retire after their annual earnings have already surpassed the limit. In this year the prior earnings would not be counted and only monthly earnings would count. This is meant to allow flexibility, but as you're experiencing, it can sometimes be confusing. 

The SSA may interpret this differently, but here's what I think. 

The earnings from Jan-April would be counted towards the annual limit because you have not entered into a "Grace Year" by having a NSM. Even thought this is over the monthly limit, it will not exceed the annual limit which is the applicable limit for you. I would think you would be eligible for an unreduced benefit starting on January 1. If you work longer than 7 months before retiring, you'll be over the monthly limit so be sure of your strategy before you file. 


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