First-year rule


Q. In the first year retirement, you can get your full check after you retire, say, in June, but if you already made $60,000 at that point in combined income with your wife, do you end up paying 85 percent of it back?

A. The Social Security Administration has you covered. Go to and scroll down to special rule for the first year you retire. It applies to your earnings, not to the combined income of you and your spouse.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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