Early retirees can earn more
Individuals who claim Social Security benefits before their full retirement age and who continue to work are subject to earnings restrictions that can temporarily reduce or eliminate their benefits. In 2018, retirees who are younger than 66 can earn up to $17,040 before losing any benefits, $120 more than last year. After that, they would forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 earned over that limit.
Those who turn 66 in 2018 can earn up to $45,360 in the months preceding their birthday without jeopardizing any benefits, up $480 from last year. They would lose $1 in benefits for every $3 earned over that limit. The earnings cap disappears once they reach full retirement age — meaning they can earn any amount without forfeiting benefits. Any benefits lost to the earnings cap are restored in the form of higher monthly benefits at full retirement age.