Pittsburgh, PA – A newly 65-year-old divorcee from Pittsburgh wonders if she can collect Social Security and still work full-time. She is also curious about collecting her ex-husband’s benefits if they are more than hers. The woman visited her local SSA office, but they were unable to provide her with the answers she was seeking.
The Social Security Administration has an “earnings test” that applies to anyone who collects benefits before reaching full retirement age. If the woman’s earnings significantly exceed the annual limit of $22,320, her wisest move would be to wait longer to claim her Social Security. This would result in a higher monthly payment and the elimination of the earnings test once she reaches her full retirement age.
Additionally, the woman cannot collect her ex-husband’s benefits instead of her own. However, she may be entitled to an additional amount to bring her monthly payment up to 50% of her ex-husband’s. This is contingent upon certain criteria, including being unmarried and having a personal benefit at full retirement age less than 50% of her ex-husband’s entitlement.
If the divorcee decides to claim Social Security, she will automatically be deemed to be filing for benefits from her ex-husband as well. However, her current earnings from working full-time are likely to affect her eligibility for Social Security benefits at the present time, so waiting until her full retirement age to claim may be her best choice.
In the event that her earnings only slightly exceed the annual limit, she may consider claiming earlier. However, this would result in a permanently reduced amount and the prospect of not receiving benefits for a number of months if she exceeds the earnings limit. Ultimately, the woman will need to carefully consider her options and the impact on her benefits based on her individual circumstances.