COLUMN-Returning to work but close to retirement? Adjust your plan
COLUMN-Returning to work but close to retirement?  Adjust your plan

COLUMN-Returning to work but close to retirement? Adjust your plan

(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

By Mark Miller

April 21 (Reuters) – The Great Retirement is turning into the Great Return, with the March U.S. employment report released earlier this month showing a jump back in the workforce among older workers. This reflects the large number of job vacancies – and reduced health risks associated with COVID-19.

The pandemic forced millions of older workers into early retirement, prompting many to stop saving and demand social security earlier than planned. This deprived them of the opportunity to increase their monthly benefits along the way through a delayed claim.

Working longer is a great way to boost your retirement income. However, if you count yourself among the “back to work” amount, your retirement plan may need an adjustment – especially enrolling in Social Security and Medicare.


If you demanded social security but have returned to work, you have a few options for claiming late claims.

You can withdraw your application within 12 months of starting benefits – but that strategy may not be attractive because you will have to repay all benefits that have been paid up to that point.

The second option is to suspend pension benefits at Full Retirement Age (FRA) or later to earn late pension credits. But social security also allows you to suspend benefits when you reach your FRA – 66 and a few months for most who are now approaching retirement. You can then resume accumulating overdue credits up to 70 years. You can only do this once, but delay can increase your benefits significantly along the way.

Your monthly social security benefit is determined by a formula attached to your FRA. This is the time when you can claim 100% of your earned benefit. You can claim a pension already as a 62-year-old, but if you apply before your full retirement age, your benefit will be reduced by as much as 6.7% annually. However, filing after your FRA gives an increase of 8% for every 12 months delay, up to 70 years.

The calculation is a little different with a suspension of benefits from FRA, because the delayed credits are calculated on the basis of your already reduced benefits. But the strategy can still be very valuable.

“This can add up to tens of thousands of extra dollars a year,” said William Meyer, co-founder of Social Security Solutions, which offers software designed to help retirees make optimal claims decisions. “It also creates a durability if you live longer than you expect.”

Another social security heads-up: if you receive income from work and social security before your FRA, your benefit is reduced by the pension accrual test, which withholds one out of every two dollars in benefits above a certain wage income. This year, the test is applied to incomes over $ 19,560. These benefits are not lost. When you reach full retirement age, Social Security recalculates your monthly benefit to credit you with any withheld benefits.

The Social Security Administration has released a calculator that you can use to determine the effect of the test on your benefits.


If you return to work after claiming Medicare at age 65, you may be able to switch back to employer coverage – but do so with great care.

Medicare requires you to sign up during a seven-month initial enrollment period that includes the three months before, the month before, and the three months following your 65th birthday. Missing window triggers late enrollment fines, which are levied in the form of higher prizes that last a lifetime.

There is really only one important exception to these rules: You can defer enrollment if you are still working after age 65 and have insurance through your employer, or if you receive insurance through your spouse’s employer.

The late registration fee for Part B is equal to 10% of the standard premium for Part B for each 12-month delay. There are also penalties for late registration for Part D prescription drugs, although they are less burdensome.

Unsubscribing from Medicare can subject you to late fines later when you sign up again, so it’s very important to understand if insurance from your new employer qualifies you for an exemption. You also run the risk of delays in coverage when you return to Medicare, depending on the time of your enrollment.

If your insurance comes from an active employment, you can defer without risking fines. However, to ensure you have adequate coverage, you should not unsubscribe if you work for an organization with 20 or fewer employees. In these cases, Medicare becomes the primary payer at age 65, and you must be enrolled at that age to avoid high cost of living.

Registration Rules aside, also compare an employer insurance option with Medicare to determine which one is better for you – personally and financially. “It’s a very personal choice,” said Casey Schwarz, senior adviser at Medicare Rights Center. “But I will start by comparing how much you pay in Medicare premiums and your own costs.”

If you receive wage income and perhaps social security, it is easy to trigger Medicare income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA). These are supplements that are linked to Medicare Part B and Part D premiums for enrollees with incomes above certain levels that can increase Medicare costs significantly.

There are five additional parentheses, defined by your adjusted adjusted gross income.

This year, the first parenthesis applies to individual tax registrars with incomes above $ 91,000. Your monthly Part B premium would be $ 238.10 instead of $ 170.10. The Part D surcharge is less – $ 12.40 this year for enrollees who fall into the first parentheses.


Going back to work sets the stage for resumed retirement savings late in the game. This year, you can contribute up to $ 27,000 to a 401 (k) if you are over 50; your IRA contribution limit is $ 7,000.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, columnist for Reuters. (Writing by Mark Miller Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.