Drawing Social Security While Running a Business?
My plan for the past several years has been to downsize my solo operation somewhat when I turned 62 (which I will do later this year), and begin drawing SS. I'm well aware of the income restrictions when taking early retirement, and am also aware you really don't "lose" all of those benefits, if you live long enough. However, the more I read on the SS Administration website, the more confused I have become.
I actually made a trip to the closest office a while back, simply to get information. I mentioned something about an hourly rule regarding self-employment, and was told their only criteria in determining eligibility was net income. The lady said she had worked there 15 years, and even went and asked her supervisor to be sure. Well, since then, I've read more on the SSA website, and, guess what, it says, basically, that if you are self-employed and work more than 45 hours a month in your business, you are not considered retired, and are therefore not eligible for benefits. If you work less than 15 hours a month, no problem, and between 15 and 45 hours is a grey area depending upon the type of business. I don't punch a time clock, and only work 7 months a year, so how would one determine the hours worked?
Another website said that if the SSA thinks you are "manipulating" your income to fall within the eligibility guidelines, it can refuse to authorize benefits. I'm not sure what they would consider "manipulation", but with this type of business it is relatively easy to do so, and I don't mean hiding income. All you have to do is work less, and replacing old equipment can make a huge difference in the bottom line. Would they consider that manipulation?
My hope is that someone on here is semi-retired, drawing SS, and can give me some real world guidance as to how it has worked out for you. Thanks.
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