Working Past Retirement: How to Maximize Your Benefits

Age 65 has traditionally been when most people retire. In recent years, working past your mid-sixties is becoming more and more common. Working past 65 has many benefits, like continued income and employer-sponsored health insurance, but it could impact your Social Security and Medicare entitlements. If you’re planning on working past retirement, here are some helpful ways to plan so that you can make the most of your federally sponsored benefits.

Social Security

Depending on your birth date, your “full” retirement age ranges from 65 to 67. You can start receiving Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but the amount will be reduced from what you’d receive at full retirement age. Anything that’s withdrawn early above the current annual amount of $17,040 will be penalized $1 for every $2 that’s taken out.

If you can, you should consider forgoing your benefits until age 70, which is when you’ll reach your maximum eligible amount. By delaying your benefits, you’ll receive a bonus percentage depending on how long you wait past your retirement age. Waiting longer than that isn’t advisable since the bonus calculations stop after age 70.

It’s important to note that if you continue to work and withdraw Social Security benefits, up to 85% of your benefits may be subject to income tax depending on your earnings. Also, you’ll pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on any income you earn regardless of whether you’re withdrawing benefits or not.

Medicare

You’re automatically eligible for Medicare the year that you turn 65. There are four types of Medicare coverage:

• Medicare A: covers hospital and nursing home stays, but not doctor’s fees
• Medicare B: general medical coverage like doctor’s visits, lab tests, and x rays
• Medicare C: supplemental medical insurance through private insurance plans
• Medicare D: prescription drug coverage

It’s a good idea to sign up for Medicare A as soon as you’re eligible, since it’s free and provides additional insurance coverage even if you have a plan through an employer. Parts B and D do have premium costs and are usually used as standalone plans if you’re not covered by an employer. You can also delay signing up for B and D until you’ve stopped working. Part C can subsidize your existing insurance and sometimes includes additional benefits like dental, vision and prescription coverage.

Whether it’s to have more financial security or simply because you enjoy it, working beyond retirement can have many benefits. While working past retirement can have an impact on your tax obligations and benefits eligibility, it’s typically less complicated than it seems. To make sure that you’re choosing the best path for you, contact Cray Kaiser today.

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