Single or Joint Income: What Counts for the Social Security Earnings Test?

If you haven’t yet reached your full retirement age but want to file early for your Social Security benefits, you need to know there’s an earnings limit.

In other words, if you earn over a certain amount of income… your benefits may be reduced.

We’ve talked about this at length on both this blog and my YouTube channel, and we field a lot of questions about this topic. One of the questions I hear all the time from married couples is this one:

“Whose earnings are they counting? If you’re married, can your spouse’s earnings affect your Social Security benefit?”

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Social Security Income Limit: What Counts as Income?

You may already know that if you’re under full retirement age and file for Social Security benefits, there’s a limit to the amount of income you can make before your benefit is reduced — or shut off completely.

But there’s one big question that keeps coming up when I talk to people about this topic: What income counts towards the Social Security earnings limit?

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