Social Security Connection-February 2009

| February 2009

Q: I retired with a civil service pension, but also qualified for Social Security. When I was doing my taxes last year, I was startled to find out that I was taxed 71 percent on my Social Security income of $377 a month.

Why are people taxed on their Social Security benefits? It doesn’t make sense to me. – M.R., Texas

A: People who file a federal tax return as an “individual” and whose total income is more than $25,000, and couples who file a joint return and have a total combined income that is more than $32,000 have to pay income tax on their Social Security benefits.

For more information and a more detailed explanation, call the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) toll-free at 1 (800) 829-3676 and ask for IRS Publication Number 915.


Q: I retired last May at the age of 65 and began drawing Social Security benefits. Can I still work and make any amount of money without having to pay any back, or do I have to be 70 before I can earn any amount? – E.D., Iowa

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