BLOG: Does Spouse's Income Count Towards Early Retirement Earnings Limit?
I'm 62 and collecting social security. My wife is still working. Does our combined income affect my Social Security benefit payment?
Quick Answer: NO. The earnings test/limit applies to those that collect "early retirement", i.e. after age 62 but before their full retirement age. It is designed to prevent collecting retirement, when otherwise eligible, when we are not actually 'retired'. As such, in 2015, the general rule is that once you earn more than $15,720, for every 2 dollars you earn over that amount, you owe back $1 of the "retirement" you collected from SS. However, it is the money YOU earn, that matters, not that of your spouse. She doesn't define your earnings and her earnings are not counted towards the $15,720, nor any payback.
Note: Earning "too much" and paying back SS you weren't eligible for is not as bad as it seems - and actually comes with a benefit. If you want to learn more about that, specific to you, please feel free to ask for a low cost consult, via our affordable SS Q&A option.