Dear Senior Living
I finally got the 40 credits needed for a Social Security retirement benefit when I was 68. Now I am 70 and working full time. Should it increase my retirement benefit? What about my wife’s spousal benefit?
— Joe Jump-Start
As long as you continue to work, even if you are receiving benefits, you will continue to pay Social Security taxes on your earnings. The Social Security Administration checks your work record every year to see whether the additional earnings will increase your monthly benefit. If there is an increase, it will send you a letter telling you of your new benefit amount.
This is an automatic process, and the benefits are paid in December of the following year. For example, in December 2015, you would get an increase for your 2014 earnings if those earnings raised your benefit. The increase would be retroactive to January 2015.
Your spouse, if entitled to a spousal benefit, receives one-half of your primary insurance amount, or PIA, subject to the normal rules on adjustment for the maximum, to the rounding of benefits and to any reduction for age. Because you qualified for retirement benefits after your full retirement age, it impacts the calculation of your PIA. Talk to your local Social Security office for more details.
You can review your earnings history online by setting up a “my Social Security” account.
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