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Social Security News

How much can you earn without losing Social Security income?

March 7, 2015 - Questions answered for seniors  by the Social Security Administration

Social Security



I am 66 years old, and I have been receiving Social Security benefits since I turned 62.  I am considering working once again.  What is the maximum amount I can earn before my Social Security benefits are affected? 


I have great news! There is no longer an annual earnings limit once a person reaches full retirement age. You attained your full retirement age the month you reached age 66.  Full retirement age is currently 66 for anyone born between the years 1943 and 1954. You can work and make as much as possible without the earnings affecting your Social Security benefits. You can find more details about this at   If a person was born in 1955 or later, then their full retirement age is other than 66.  Please visit our website to see the full retirement age for people born after 1954,  


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I plan to start receiving my Social Security retirement later this year at the age of 62. Will my ex-wife be able to claim half of it when I turn 62, or does she have to wait until she reaches 62 before she can claim benefits on my record? 


Your ex-wife is eligible for benefits on your record if the two of you were married at least 10 years.  Your ex-wife would have to be at least 62 in order to claim any benefits on your record.

It is worth noting that if she does file for divorced spouse’s benefits on your record it would not reduce your benefit at all. 

Although she can receive up to 50% of your full benefit amount, she would have to be at her own full retirement age in order to receive that amount.  If she applies at age 62 then she is not eligible to receive 50% of your full benefit amount.  She would be eligible for closer to 35%, not 50%, at age 62.  

If she is filing for benefits before she is full retirement age, she will have to claim her own Social Security retirement benefit (if she qualifies on her own) first and then Social Security will check if she is able to receive any additional benefit as a divorced spouse.  

If her own retirement is more than the divorced spouse’s benefit, then she would only receive her retirement benefit.  A person in this situation can only receive the higher of the two amounts.  Also, if you were to pass away, she could revisit her eligibility on your record as a divorced widow. 

Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can also email him at


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