Can I be denied my social security benefits if I retire at age 62?

Asked over 5 years ago - Fort Myers, FL

I will be 62 this year and have decided to retire and collect my social security benefits. Because I have been self-employed for the past 17 years, the Social Security Administration asked for both my personal and business tax returns for the last three years, in order to "make a determination", as they put it. Can they deny me early retirement benefits just because I was previously self-employed and plan to work about 10-20 hours a month after retirement?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Felice Adrienne Brodsky

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    7

    Answered . What Social Security is looking for is the "worth" of your services. When someone is self-employed, they have a lot more control over what they earn than someone who works for somebody and gets a paycheck. An example probably explains what I am talking about: Let's say you earned $50,000. the last few years and now you are saying you are just working part-time and estimate you will make $10,000. All of a sudden, your spouse who has never worked in the business and has another job besides, is going to work a little and make $40,000. Social Security would be rather suspicious of that since the $50,000 is still coming into the household But if you used to work 50 hours per week, and are now working 10-20 per month and have promoted a non family member into your former position, and hired someone else part-time, this would be a lot more believable to say you are only earning $10,000. They look at the totality of the situation to figure out if you are really retired or just have a sham retirement with a low ball estimate of earnings. It is important to plan out exactly what changes will be made in the business to support a large drop in earnings, and to be able to detail them to Social Security. Please be aware that this is a pretty common issue in small family businesses, but if you go in and give them details of who will be doing the work that you once did, you should be ok. Good luck!

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