Q: Can I apply for retirement benefits online?
A: Yes, you can and it is quick, convenient, and easy. You'll find the application information at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. You also can calculate your estimated benefits by using our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Apply online and save a trip to the office and a wait in line.
Q: I worked the first half of the year, but plan to retire this month. Will Social Security count the amount I earn for this year when I retire?
A: Yes. If you retire midyear, we count your earnings for the entire year.
We have a special “earnings test” rule we apply to annual earnings, usually in the first year of retirement. Under this rule, you get a full payment for any whole month we consider you retired regardless of your yearly earnings.
We consider you retired during any month your earnings are $1,260 or less, or if you have not performed substantial services in self-employment. We do not consider income earned, beginning with the month you reach full retirement age.
Learn more about the earnings test rule at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/rule.htm.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, call Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213. For more information, go online to www.socialsecurity.gov.