The Social Security earnings limit, also known as the “earnings test” or “retirement earnings test,” is a threshold set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that determines how much money you can earn from work without affecting your Social Security benefits. This limit applies to individuals who claim Social Security benefits before reaching their full retirement age (FRA), which varies depending on your birth year.

The earnings limit is updated annually and has two distinct levels: one for the years before the year you reach your FRA, and another for the year you reach your FRA. As of 2023, the limits are as follows:

  • 1. The Social Security earnings limit is $21,240. If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, the Social Security Administration will deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.
  • 2. For the period between January 1 and the month you attain full retirement age, the income limit increases to $56,520. For every $3 you exceed that limit, $1 will be withheld in benefits.
  • 3. There is no limit on earnings for workers who are “full” retirement age or older for the entire year.

It is important to note that these reductions are not permanent. Once you reach your FRA, your benefits will be recalculated to account for the months when your benefits were reduced or withheld due to the earnings test. This means that your monthly benefit amount will increase at your FRA to make up for the previous reductions.

Additionally, the earnings limit only applies to income earned from work, such as wages, salaries, bonuses, and self-employment income. It does not include income from investments, pensions, or other government benefits.

To ensure that you are aware of the current Social Security earnings limit and how it may affect your benefits, it is recommended that you visit the SSA’s official website ( for the most up-to-date information and resources.

Learn more

To learn more about the Social Security earnings limit on the Social Security Administration’s website (, follow these steps:

  • 1. Visit the Social Security Administration’s website at
  • 2. Locate the search bar, typically found in the upper right-hand corner of the website. Click on the magnifying glass icon or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard to activate the search function.
  • 3. Type “Social Security earnings limit” into the search bar and press “Enter” on your keyboard or click the magnifying glass icon to initiate the search.
  • 4. Browse through the search results to find relevant information on the Social Security earnings limit. Some of the most pertinent resources may include:
    • a. Fact sheets or articles that provide an overview of the earnings limit and its implications for Social Security benefits.
    • b. Publications or brochures that offer detailed explanations of the earnings limit, including how it is calculated and adjusted annually.
    • c. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address common inquiries related to the earnings limit and its impact on Social Security benefits.
  • 5. Click on the titles of the resources that seem most relevant to your needs. This will open the selected resource in a new window or tab, allowing you to read and gather information on the Social Security earnings limit.
  • 6. Take note of any additional resources or links within the selected materials that may provide further information on the topic. These may include references to specific sections of the Social Security Act, related regulations, or other government resources that offer more in-depth information on the earnings limit.

By following these steps, you should be able to gather comprehensive information on the Social Security earnings limit and its implications for your Social Security benefits. Remember to consult the official resources provided by the Social Security Administration to ensure that you are accessing accurate and up-to-date information.

Additional resources

Consider also exploring the following government resources:

  • 1. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website ( The IRS website offers tax-related information on Social Security benefits, including how the earnings limit may affect your taxes.
  • 2. ( This government portal provides access to various federal resources, including Social Security and retirement planning, which can help you understand the earnings limit and its implications.
  • 3. My Social Security account ( By creating a personal account, you can access your Social Security statement, review your earnings history, and estimate your future benefits, which can help you plan for the earnings limit.
  • 4. U.S. Department of Labor ( The Department of Labor website offers resources on retirement planning, including information on Social Security benefits and the earnings limit.
  • 5. Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board ( The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) website provides information on retirement savings for federal employees, which can be helpful in understanding how the Social Security earnings limit may affect your overall retirement planning.
  • 6. Social Security Advisory Board ( The SSAB is an independent government agency that provides recommendations on Social Security policies, including the earnings limit. Their reports and publications can offer valuable insights on this topic.

Our articles make government information more accessible. Please consult a qualified professional for financial, legal, or health advice specific to your circumstances.

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