Millions of people rely on Social Security earnings during retirement or at least to supplement their retirement benefits, sometimes even before retirement age. But how much money can you make on Social Security, and how long does it last?

Keep reading to learn about Social Security income and eligibility requirements, including the retirement age and how it works.

How Much Can You Earn While Receiving Social Security?

How much Social Security you earn depends on your lifetime income. Of course, the more money you make while working, the more you’ll receive from the Social Security monthly benefit, but the retirement age you take benefits plays a role too.

Each year, the maximum Federal Supplemental Security Income payment adjusts with the cost of living. This is the maximum amount of earnings anyone can receive each year, but the amount you receive depends on certain factors.

How Much Does the Average Person Receive from Social Security?

For 2023, the Social Security amounts for eligible individuals are $914 and $1,371 for an individual with a spouse. These amounts are inflation-protected and adjust annually to ensure Americans have adequate retirement benefits.

What do the Social Security Amounts Depend on, and How Will I Know What I’ll Receive?

The first and most important factor the Social Security Administration considers for eligibility is if you are of full retirement age. Full Retirement Age (FRA) is the age you’ll receive 100% of your benefits and is 66 if you were born between 1943 – 1954. After that, the full retirement age increases by two months for each year you were born after 1954; for anyone born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67.

If you retire before your Full Retirement Age, you’ll receive a percentage of your full benefit, depending on the age you take it.

Since each situation differs, the only way to tell how much you’ll get is to use the My Social Security Account tool to determine your current and future earnings.

Can you Work While Living on Social Security Retirement Funds?

You can work while on Social Security and earn an income, but to be considered ‘fully retired,’ your wages must not exceed the annual earnings limit. The Social Security Administration adjusts the earnings caps each year based on the national wage trends. 

Does Income Affect your Social Security Benefits?

If your income exceeds the annual earnings cap for Social Security benefits, you’ll lose $1 of retirement benefits for every $2 your income exceeds the cap.

For example, if your wages are $5,000 more than the earnings cap, you’ll lose $2,500 in annual Social Security benefits or $416.67 per month. Remember that the monthly cap pertains to your gross income, not income after taxes.

How Much Money can you Make on Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability is insurance you pay into during your working years that the Social Security Administration handles. If you become disabled and can no longer work, you might earn Social Security Disability Insurance pay for yourself and your dependents. You don’t have to be of full retirement age. Still, the disability must last for over a year and prevent you from doing your current work or adjusting work to accommodate your disability.

The average person in 2022 on disability received $1,358 per month in disability earnings, and the maximum amount anyone could receive is a $3,345 monthly benefit. How much you receive greatly depends on how much you’ve earned up until you were disabled.

Is Social Security Enough to Keep me Living Comfortably or Cover my Medical Bills?

The average monthly Social Security benefit is $1,547.87 per month, including those receiving Social Security Disability insurance benefits. Social Security might be enough to keep you comfortable without a housing payment and below-average living expenses, but then there are medical bills.

You aren’t eligible for Medicare until age 65, and the free portion of Medicare only covers basic hospitalization. It doesn’t cover doctor’s visits, medicine, or other treatments. Medicare Part B has a premium, as does Part D, if you want prescription coverage.  

Social Security income is meant to supplement your retirement savings rather than be your sole source of income.

Do you Pay Taxes on Social Security?

You don’t automatically pay taxes on Social Security income earnings. It depends on a few factors:

Your combined income includes your adjusted gross income from work, investments, or any businesses plus one-half of your Social Security income.

Does Social Security Count as Income?

You must report your Social Security income on your tax returns, on line 6b of the 1040, whether or not you’ve reached full retirement age. This doesn’t mean your income is immediately taxable, though. It’s only taxable if your income, including Social Security, exceeds the limits above.

When do you Stop Receiving Social Security?

Social Security benefits last for as long as you live. You can outlive your retirement funds and savings, but you’ll never have to worry about losing Social Security income, even if you take your earnings before your full retirement age.

How can Trajector Help Me?

Getting your Social Security benefits can feel overwhelming and confusing. Many people give up on the process because they don’t understand what they’re entitled to and what the Social Security Administration needs, especially if they need Social Security Disability benefits and not benefits because they’ve reached retirement age.

Trajector can help you through the process, ensuring you have all the evidence needed to obtain the SSI you deserve. No one should fight the battle alone or feel like they don’t deserve the benefits. You worked for them, and we will help you get them.