Social Security earnings limit


Q. If I retire on Dec. 31, 2019, I will not be paid for annual leave I have saved until sometime the next year (2020). Does that money count against my 2020 Social Security earnings limit ($17,000), reducing my Social Security payments, or does it not count as earned income in 2020 (since I accrued it in previous years)?

A. For purposes of the Social Security earned income offset, income counts in the year that it is earned, rather that the year in which it is paid.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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