Rob West

Social Security Changes for Workers

December 15, 2020
00:00 0

It’s no surprise that nearly 70 million Americans receive Social Security benefits.  What is suprising is that millions of them are still working.  While it is true that you can receive retirement benefits without actually retiring, Rob West and Steve Moore discuss some big changes that may surprise those who do still work while receiving benefits and those who are anticipating retiring in the near future. 


1. Retirement Earnings Test Exemption Limits: The amount you can earn without having your Social Security benefits reduced.


In 2021, the amount you can earn before benefit reductions kick in is increasing from $18,240 to $18,960. If you make more than that amount, for every $2 you earn, $1 will be withheld from your benefits. This only applies if you haven’t reached your full retirement age. 


If you start receiving Social Security benefits in the year you reach full retirement age, but you haven’t yet reached it when you begin receiving benefits, you’ll be allowed to earn up to earn up to $50,520 before your benefits are reduced which is about a $1,000 increase. Then, for every $3 you earn above that mount, your benefits will be reduced by $1.

Thankfully, once you reach full retirement age, even if you continue to work, the earnings test no longer applies and you can earn any amount without having your benefits reduced.


2. President Trump signed an executive order earlier in 2020 temporarily deferring Social Security or FICA taxes from Sep 1 to Dec 31, 2020.  That deferral is coming to an end.


That’s a tax of 12.4% on payrolls.  Roughly half of that is paid by employers.  The other half is paid by workers. With that tax deferred, most workers essentially got a temporary raise.  But without Congress, all the president could do is temporarily defer the tax – meaning it still has to be paid by the companies and individuals.  


The Social Security System will likely recoup that deferred tax incrementally over time – not in a lump sum – but as the law stands now, it will have to be repaid.  That means that workers can expect their take home pay to be reduced back down to the amount they received before September 1st plus an additional temporary reduction until the deferred taxes are repaid. 


So in the months ahead, look for ways to cut spending a bit so you can stay on budget and not have to tap into savings to meet your expenses.


Next, Rob and Steve answer listener questions at 800-525-7000 or by email at including the following: 


·      A caller and her husband have been faithful financially since becoming Christians in their early 20s.  They have always been faithful tithers and generous givers and lived within their means.  There have been several job losses over the years, but God has been faithful to provide for their needs.  They are now able to retire early.


·      Caller shared a similar testimony about being taught Biblical financial principles at a young age.  She learned to trust in God’s provision and has always tithed no matter what.  She says when you tithe, you’re giving God what’s already His.  It was never yours in the first place.


·      A couple is looking to save $5000 for an anniversary trip that will happen in two years.  What’s the best way to save, and what’s the best place to put their money to meet that objective?  (Rob mentioned higher-yield savings accounts at  Marcus, Ally Bank, and Capital One 360.)


·      Caller’s step-father passed away a few months ago.  Caller expects to receive a sizeable inheritance.  She’s wondering what she should do with the money.  Options she mentioned included getting completely debt free.  She’s wondering if she should pay everything off, just pay off the car but continue making payments on the house, putting it in savings, etc.  (Rob outlined the steps you should take when making decisions about unexpected income.)


·      75-year-old widow is trying to learn to manage her investments since her husband was always the one to do that.  Rob talks about finding a godly financial advisor and making sure she ask plenty of question and stay involved in the management process rather than simply trusting the advisor to handle it all.  (If you need to find a financial advisor, you can do so at  Just click on “Find a CKA” which stands for Certified Kingdom Advisor. )



You can ask your own questions at (800) 525-7000 or email them to Visit our website at where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, purchase books, and even download free, helpful resources like the MoneyWise app.


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About MoneyWise

MoneyWise is a daily radio ministry of MoneyWise Media. Hosted by Rob West, the program offers a practical, biblical and good-natured approach to managing your time, talents and resources.

About Rob West

Rob West is the host of the nationally syndicated radio programs MoneyWise and The MoneyWise Minute heard on more than 900 radio outlets each day. Rob also serves as the President of Kingdom Advisors, an international community of financial professionals who are specialists in delivering biblically wise financial advice. Rob serves as primary spokesperson for the organization and gives leadership to organizational strategy.

A radio veteran, Rob previously co-hosted a live, call-in, financial radio program with his father from 1998 through 2008 at WAFG, Fort Lauderdale, FL. Rob has dedicated his professional career to working at the intersection of faith and finance having led a successful faith-based financial services firm, serving as the host of several radio programs on a biblical approach to finance, and speaking frequently on the topic. Rob and his wife, Julie, live in Marietta, GA with their four children.


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