Social Security Q&A

Q: I’m retired and the only income I have is a monthly withdrawal from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Are the IRA withdrawals considered “earnings?” Could they reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?

A: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Q: If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my Social Security disability benefits?

A: No, Social Security has several work incentive programs to help people who want to work. You may be able to receive monthly benefits and continue your health care coverage during a trial work period. For information about Social Security’s work incentives and how they can help you return to work, you should:
• Visit our special work site at www.socialsecurity.gov/work;
• See the Red Book on work incentives at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook; or
• Check out our publications at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs and type “work” in the search box.
For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Information provided by the local Social Security office.

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