Navigating Social Security

As you are approaching your senior years, Social Security and Medicare are benefits to be scheduled.

Social Security provides supplemental income from the age of 62 or later.
Medicare provides health insurance when you turn 65.

Here we will be discussing how to navigate signing up for Social Security. Note, these discussions are for people 62 or older or nearing the age of 62 to obtain Social Security. These discussions do not cover younger people with disabilities obtaining Social Security.

There will be links in this article  to various Social Security sites. Just click on the link to get more details.

Disclaimer: for specific details for signing up for Social Security, contact Social Security direct ( or 1-800-772-1213. Any information at SeniorViewsUSA is to ease the process but is not the final say in how the process works.

When can you start receiving Social Security? A person can start receiving Social Security at age 62. However, you will receive a monthly amount less than the full retirement amount.

For example, if you were born in 1954 and you start receiving Social Security at age 62, you will receive approximately 75% of your full retirement amount ($750.00 monthly benefit instead of the $1,000.00 a month full retirement benefit).

Full retirement age:

65 if born 1937 or earlier
65 and 2 months if born in 1938
65 and 4 months if born in 1939
65 and 6 months if born in 1940
65 and 8 months if born in 1941
65 and 10 months if born in 1942
66 if born between 1943 and 1954
66 and 2 months if born in 1955
66 and 4 months if born in 1956
66 and 6 months if born in 1957
66 and 8 months if born in 1958
66 and 10 months if born in 1959
67 if born in 1960 or later

When to apply for Social Security benefits? Four (4) months prior to birth date, or date for which you want to start receiving benefits. This would be based on when you elect to starting receiving benefits. You can start at 62, wait until your full retirement age, or wait until you are 70 years of age. Social Security monthly retirement benefits continue to grow until you are 70 years old.

You can apply on-line over the Internet, by phone (1-800-772-1213), or in person at your local office. Most, if not all, Social Security offices are now open to the public. You should be aware that the offices are very busy and appointments should be made before visiting an office. Even with an appointment there could be long wait times.

(No longer applicable: On March 17, 2020, Social Security suspended face-to-face service to the public in field offices and hearings offices nationwide until further notice. However, critical services are still provided via phone, fax and online. You can use the local office lookup to obtain additional phone numbers).

How income affects Social Security

How work affects your benefits – 2024

2024 Income Limit is $22,320
2023 Income Limit is $21,240
2022 Income Limit is $19,560
2021 Income Limit is $18,960
2020 Income Limit is $18,240
2019 Income Limit is $17,640
2018 Income Limit was $17,040

Income that counts – If you work for someone else, only your wages count toward Social Security’s earnings limits.

For the earnings limits,
When Social Security figures out how much to deduct from your benefits, they count only the wages you make from your job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. They include bonuses, commissions and vacation pay. They don’t count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans or other government or military retirement benefits.
Payments from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s) are NOT included as income.

If you are under full retirement age for the entire year,
they deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit.
For 2024, that limit is $22,320.
For 2023, that limit is $21,240.
For 2022, that limit is $19,560.
For 2021, that limit is $18,960.
For 2020, that limit is $18,240.
For 2019, that limit is $17,640.
For 2018, that limit was $17,040.
For Example, you earn $31,240 ($10,000 over limit). SS benefits would be reduced by $5,000 ($1 for every $2 earned over limit).

In the year you reach full retirement age,
they deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit.
In 2024, the limit on your earnings is $59,520
In 2023, the limit on your earnings is $56,520
In 2022, the limit on your earnings is $51,960
In 2021, the limit on your earnings is $50,520
In 2020, the limit on your earnings is $48,600
In 2019, the limit on your earnings is $46,920
In 2018, the limit on your earnings was $45,360
but they only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.

When you reach retirement age,
They will recalculate your benefit amount to leave out the months when they reduced or withheld benefits due to your excess earnings.

Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, there is no limit on how much you can earn and still receive your benefits.

When is Social Security subject to income tax?

2024 Retirement Benefits Publication

IRS Notice 703 – form to help determine if SS is taxable

If you file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income(*) that is
between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits, more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.

*On the 1040 tax return, your “combined income” is
the sum of your adjusted gross income (1040 line 11 for 2023, 1040 line 11 for 2022, 1040 line 11 for 2021, 1040 line 11 for 2020, 1040 line 8b for 2019, 1040 line 7 for 2018, 1040 line 37/38 for 2017)
plus nontaxable interest
plus half of your Social Security benefits. (Pg 12 in 2024 Retirement Benefits pdf)


The maximum earnings subject to Social Security for 2024 is $168,600.  That is a 5.24% ($8,400) increase over the 2023 maximum earnings amount for 2023 of $160,200.