The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers you "retired" once you start receiving retirement benefits.
Your FRA is either 66 or 67, depending on your birth year.
If you're younger than your FRA and earn more than $21,240 annually, your benefits might be reduced.
At FRA, the limit is $56,520, and any earnings above that reduce your benefits.
The SSA only counts income from work, like wages and self-employment, for benefit reduction. Other income sources don't factor in.
If you only receive benefits for part of the year and exceed the limit, a special rule allows full benefits for retired months.
Under FRA, a $10,000 excess earns a $5,000 benefit reduction.
Beyond FRA, excess earnings trigger benefit reductions, but post-FRA earnings don't affect benefits.
The SSA uses your FRA to calculate survivor benefits, even if you're not entitled to retirement benefits yourself.
Once you reach FRA, earnings limits disappear, and the SSA recalculates benefits to account for prior reductions.