How much is too much? It depends on whether you will hit FRA sometime in the year you work or not. If you don’t hit FRA at all, you will lose $1 in benefits in 2022 for every $2 earned over $19,560. If you reach FRA at any point in the year, you will lose $1 in benefits for every $3 earned over $51,960.
Full checks are withheld when you lose benefits by working. For example, if you receive Social Security income of $1,500 each month and end up losing $3,000 in benefits, you won’t get a check for two months. Then when you reach FRA you will be charged back early filing penalties for the months you didn’t get checks. Since this will increase your payment amount, you will eventually recoup the forfeited benefits in the form of increased monthly income – if you live long enough.
Not everyone breaks, even if they lose benefits. And even if you get more money later, that might not help you now if you find your Social Security checks disappearing because of your paycheck.