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Can Your Social Security Benefits be Stopped? - Motley Fool

Here’s an interesting statistic: about half of all beneficiaries whose monthly benefit is below the 40th percentile depend on Social Security for 90% or more of their retirement income. A pretty sobering fact which highlights how painful it would be to not receive that Social Security payment like clockwork each month. Fortunately, there’s only one circumstance where you’re likely to actually have your SS benefit withheld, and that would be if you claim benefits before your full retirement age (FRA) and continue to work and exceed the annual earnings limit for those under FRA. Even then you may be able to work out a repayment plan which doesn’t mean entirely withholding your monthly payment. Other than for exceeding the earnings limit, your Social Security is pretty much protected from impact by outside forces, except other branches of the Federal government. For example, if you owe the IRS money for back taxes, the IRS could garnish your Social Security to recover what is owed, but they wouldn’t take your entire SS payment. Rather, they’d set up a plan which used some of your Social Security to repay what is owed, leaving you with at least enough monthly income to live on. The other possibility is if you default on a federal student loan, the federal loan provider could come after some of your Social Security benefits, but would likely prefer to work out some other less financially devastating arrangement. So, as explained in this Motley Fool article by Maurie Backman, your Social Security benefit is largely protected from being taken away.

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