Recouping Social Security Benefits

If you haven't yet reached full retirement age and have returned to the workforce, expect for your benefits to be reduced.

USA Social security cards laid on pile of dollar bills to illustrate money in retirement
(Image credit: Backyard Productions LLC 2018 (Backyard Productions LLC 2018 (Photographer) - [None])

Question: I started taking Social Security at 62, but my benefits were reduced two years later when I started working again. Do I ever get those benefits back? - K.M., Atlanta

Yes. Your monthly benefits will be increased in the month you reach full retirement age to account for the forfeited benefits. If you earn more than $17,640 in 2019, Social Security temporarily withholds $1 in benefits for every $2 in earnings above that limit. After you reach your full retirement age (age 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954), you can earn an unlimited amount without affecting your Social Security benefits.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.