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Shortly before the holiday season, the Social Security Administration sent out an official letter titled “Important Information.” If you are now at the full retirement age of 66 or older, the letter says, “you may keep all of your benefits no matter how much you earn.” That kind of generosity is hard to top, but on the other hand, if you are younger than the full retirement age, “there is a limit to how much you can earn before we reduce your benefits” and the earnings limit is $16,920. Try paying your bills with that. If you are under 66 and earn more than that, “we deduct $1 from your benefits in 2017 for each $2 you earn over $16,920,” equivalent to a tax of 50 percent. If you are turning 66 in 2017, SS allows you to earn $44,880 and grabs $1 for every $3 you earn above that limit, equivalent to a tax of 33 percent. This kind of federal poverty enforcement, however, does not apply to everybody.
As we noted, those in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) can retire at the age of 55, a full seven years earlier than Social Security allows. By all indications, they are not subject to income restrictions and the government even helps early federal retirees get more money through a secretive Special Retirement Supplement (SRS). For privileged federal employees, this is a Dream Act guaranteed to keep the government ruling class far ahead of the working masses. The Obama administration made no attempt at reform.
Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration has been sending money to former Nazis and continued payments to dead people for twenty years. The Social Security Administration has also attempted to grab money from the children of people who were allegedly overpaid benefits decades ago. This happened on the watch of Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin, who faced allegations that on her watch the Administration hid a report on a $300 million computer boondoggle and retaliated against a whistleblower. Obama nominee Colvin remains “acting” commissioner and reports of retaliation against whistleblowers have continued in 2016. Beyond such waste, abuse and incompetence, the Social Security Administration will still punish productive work in 2017. Happy New Year everybody!