What Happens To Your Medicare After You Return To Post-Retirement Work? Part II

Question: I retired after I turned 65. I started Medicare and added other insurance to that. I also started to collect my Social Security. Now I am seriously considering going back to work. Will that be a problem? What do I do about Medicare? What do I do about Social Security?

Answer: (I want to remind you that this is a two-part answer. I answered the Medicare part of this question last week. This week I am answering the Social Security portion.)

I have been meeting a number of older individuals who are missing the “going to work” piece of their lives. Some individuals return to work because they loved it and find themselves lost without that work. Other individuals return to work because they have found a new and interesting opportunity to use their skills in a different work place. Either way, no matter what your situation, I am always glad to see people doing what they like to do and want to do.

The idea of stopping your Social Security may be because you will again be earning money and don’t want to collect your Social Security also. I want to remind you that once you have reached full retirement age you can collect Social Security and still work with no penalty or payback of your Social Security Benefits. Prior to full retirement age there is an earnings limit and this year that earnings limit is $16,920 per year ($1410 per month). The earnings limit means if you are under full retirement age and working, they would hold back $1 of Social Security for every $2 earned on wages over $16,920.

Since you are over your full retirement age (over age 66), that does not apply to you. I would encourage you to go back to work and encourage you to continue to collect Social Security also. That will give you an opportunity to create a nest egg with that extra money, or maybe pay off some debts faster than expected.

If you did decide you wanted to stop your Social Security, it is important to understand that you would be required to pay back all the Social Security that you have collected so far. That also includes benefits paid to family members that became eligible to collect Social Security because you filed for Social Security.

There are situations where you can withdraw from collecting Social Security without it being such a big deal, (like before your benefits actually begin).

You are allowed only once to withdraw from Social Security Benefits in a lifetime.

There are also some situations that would allow you to “suspend” collecting Social Security Benefits. This has to do with your age (between full retirement and age 70).

The stopping of your Social Security Benefits is not something to be taken lightly. As always, I recommend reaching out to Social Security Administration to review your situation and your benefits There are many different rules and situations to consider. The Social Security Administration is always your best source for that process. You can contact SSA in the following ways; using the website at www.SSA.gov or call the national number at 1-800-772-1213, or calling the local number Jamestown is 1-877-319-3079, & Dunkirk is 1-888-862-2139 or Olean is 1-877-319-5773.

You can also go to any local SSA office. Social Security is a national benefit, so any office, anywhere in the country can help you answer your questions. You do not have to use the office in your hometown, your own county or even your own state.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 720-9797 or e-mail her at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org.