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Social Security questionnaire
Old 08-24-2009, 04:36 PM   #1
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Social Security questionnaire

I'm taking SS early, and received a questionnaire asking how much I expect to make in 2009 and 2010. They need this because if I make over something like $12k a year in earned income (not pensions or investments) I lose part or all of my early SS. So I answered, this year I made about $4800 and next year I expect to make $0.

This makes it all very real, gee, I'm retired. It's a little scary when you put it in terms of income. I feel like I've regressed to when I was 17 or 18 years old, income-wise. Maybe I can mow grass for an allowance or run a lemonade stand. Nahhh.... too much like w--k
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:40 PM   #2
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Well whatever you do, just leave some of that $ for the rest of us.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by FinallyRetired View Post
I'm taking SS early, and received a questionnaire asking how much I expect to make in 2009 and 2010. They need this because if I make over something like $12k a year in earned income (not pensions or investments) I lose part or all of my early SS. So I answered, this year I made about $4800 and next year I expect to make $0.

This makes it all very real, gee, I'm retired. It's a little scary when you put it in terms of income. I feel like I've regressed to when I was 17 or 18 years old, income-wise. Maybe I can mow grass for an allowance or run a lemonade stand. Nahhh.... too much like w--k
Gosh, I'm feelin' left out here...... My SS started Aug 1st with the Aug check due to arrive mid-Sept. But I didn't get a questionnaire! Perhaps it was obvious that a guy like me couldn't possibly have any income? Well, in any case, they're right. A little income in 2008 from exercising the last of my stock options from MegaCorp. But it'll be zero in 2009 and onward!
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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No questionnaire here either. I suppose the fact I'd had no earned income for three years prior to filing might have discouraged them from asking...
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:21 PM   #5
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The earnings cap in 2009 (for those who take SS early) was $14, 190. I didn't know that SS asked about this and reduced the size of your SS check if you exceeded the earnings limit, I thought this was handled through the IRS (that you paid a big tax bill--50% tax rate on all SS received after you hit the cap, which is the same as having a reduced SS check).
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:36 PM   #6
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The earnings cap in 2009 (for those who take SS early) was $14, 190. I didn't know that SS asked about this and reduced the size of your SS check if you exceeded the earnings limit, I thought this was handled through the IRS (that you paid a big tax bill--50% tax rate on all SS received after you hit the cap, which is the same as having a reduced SS check).
No, SS doesn't only go by the IRS. I wondered about this also, and asked them, but they said they go by what is self-reported as well as the IRS. That's because many of the deductions and exemptions that you can take with the IRS don't apply to the SS earnings cap.

In my case, they asked me at the start of 2009 how much I expected to earn, and I pulled $12,000 out of the air. You're right, the limit is $14,190, so I wanted to stay below the limit. The questionnaire reminded me that I self-estimated $12k and asked if I still estimated this much, to which I replied that no, my new estimate is $4800.

But there's more to this, the earnings cap is also applied on a monthly basis for the first year, so I'm capped at $14190/12 = $1182.50 per month. They asked me to check off each month for which I would earn less than this, which was all of them. If I had exceeded that amount for any one month, they would dock me.

Basically, when you take early SS, they don't want you to work, and penalize you if you work too much. And I'm OK with that.

I wonder why you guys didn't get a questionnaire? Maybe because my self estimate was so close to the earnings cap. Or maybe because, with my proven ability at pulling in a four digit income, it's clear that I'm a heavy hitter in the financial world and they better keep a close eye on me.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:43 PM   #7
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I have heard of people taking SS early and continuing to work. They ask their employers or their clients to defer compensation--pay them in the year after which they reach full retirement age. Sounds a little dodgy to me, but maybe it is legit.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #8
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I have heard of people taking SS early and continuing to work. They ask their employers or their clients to defer compensation--pay them in the year after which they reach full retirement age. Sounds a little dodgy to me, but maybe it is legit.
No, it's not legit. Another rule SS explained to me, you have to declare your SS earnings at the time you earned them, not after the fact. This is another reason why they don't just go by the IRS. For example, a company may not send a paycheck for several months after the work was performed, especially for a subcontractor. In IRS rules, the money is delared for the year it was received. For SS, it is declared for the month and year it was earned, regardless of when it was received.

I don't doubt that some do this and get away with it, but it's not worth taking the risk.
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