When You Retire From Your Own Business
Social Security Administration
SSA Publication No. 05-10038
When You Retire From Your Own Business:
What Social Security Needs to Know
|If you own and operate a business and you’re getting ready to retire, Social Security will need to know whether you’ll be completely retired or whether you plan to continue some involvement in the business.
To get all of your Social Security retirement benefits, you must retire, or at least reduce your 1998 earnings below $9,120 if you’re under age 65, or below $14,500 if you are 65-69. If you reduce your earnings, you also must reduce your involvement in the business so that it corresponds with the amount of your earnings.
When you work for wages, it’s easy to determine whether you’re “retired.” Your earnings tell the whole story. But when you work in a business that you or your family owns, or you are an officer in a corporation, it’s not as simple. Because you could be in a position to control your earnings, you may need to furnish us with additional information–such as tax returns or corporate records–when you file for benefits. This will help us decide whether you have reduced your services in the business to match the reduction in your income. In other words, your earnings must match the work you do. You cannot simply pay yourself a smaller salary to stay under Social Security’s earnings limits.
This factsheet provides you with information on how we decide whether a person meets Social Security’s definition of retirement and describes the types of evidence we need to make that decision.
How Earnings Reduce
Social Security’s Toll-Free Number
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