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Working after Retirement – continued

Social Security Benefits and Volunteering

Social Security — How will your benefits be affected if you return to work?

Benefit increases. If you work after your Full Retirement Age, your additional earnings could increase your benefits, even you're already receiving them.

Benefit reductions. Any income you earn during or after the month you reach Full Retirement Age will NOT reduce your Social Security, no matter how much you earn.

If you start getting Social Security benefits before your Full Retirement Age:

Notes: The $14,160 and $37,680 limits apply to year 2009; the limits are adjusted for inflation each year. Earned income includes wages and net earnings from self-employment, as reported on Schedule C or Schedule SE. Pensions, 401k distributions, IRA distributions, dividends, interest, other investment income, capital gains, annuities, inheritance payments and other government benefits are examples of non-work income that are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits.

  • In 2009, your benefits will be reduced $1 for each $2 of income you earn above $14,160 — until the year you reach Full Retirement Age.

  • During the year when you reach Full Retirement Age, the rules change in your favor. Your benefits will be reduced, but only by $1 for each $3 of income you earn above $37,680. And the reduction applies only during the months up to but not including the month you reach Full Retirement Age. If you haven't earned $37,680 by then, your benefits will not be reduced, no matter how much you earn during the entire year.

For more information, we suggest these online publications: Retirement Benefits (Publication No. 05-10035) and How Work Affects Your Benefits (Publication No. 05-10069).

More information about Social Security, including how to find your Full Retirement Age, is in our Social Security Benefits page.

— Volunteering —

During retirement, many people become bored, miss interacting with other people, or miss the intellectual stimulation their jobs used to provide. For many retirees, volunteering overcomes these problems and provides the personal fulfillment they seek.

Not only can volunteer work be rewarding, but it also provides many other benefits as well. Volunteer work can help prolong your life and boost your vitality and self-esteem. Recent studies found that retiree-volunteers tend to live longer than people who do no volunteer work. Other studies found that retiree-volunteers are happier, have more energy, and have a greater sense of control over their lives.

If you are interested in volunteering, we've included a list of organizations and other resources below. But first, we suggest that you think about what type of volunteer work you're looking for and how your expertise may fit. To help you, we highly recommend the book, Don't Retire, REWIRE!

The authors have identified 5 steps to finding the fulfilling work that fuels your passion and suits your personality. It helps you determine what kind of work suits your interests and then guides you through the process of finding a position with the hours, challenges, and rewards you want — whether you're looking at part-time jobs, volunteer work, or a second career. For more information, click on Don't Retire, REWIRE!

In addition to the national organizations we've listed below, also check with local organizations who may be looking for volunteers. For example, if you have a car and enjoy driving, many charitable organizations need drivers — Meals on Wheels is one such group. Or, your local hospital may need drivers to bring outpatients for treatment.

AARP — their national community service programs help serve members and non-members. This page is just one of several in AARP's helpful guide, "Serve Your Community."

American Red Cross — your local Red Cross can work with you to provide rewarding experiences, whatever your schedule. They have thousands of one-time and ongoing volunteering opportunities available.

Eldercare Locater — to find local organizations that provide assistance for older people, call Eldercare Locator, toll-free, at 1-800-677-1116, between 8AM and 9PM weekdays, Eastern Time.

ElderHostel — the nation's first and the world's largest educational and travel organization for older adults. There are numerous volunteering opportunities in the Service section under their Programs tab.

Executive Service Corps — retired executives who, as volunteer consultants, provide a variety of high quality, affordable services to local nonprofits, schools, and government agencies.

Experience Corps — volunteer members serve as tutors and mentors to children in urban public schools and after-school programs, where they help teach children to read and develop the confidence and skills to succeed in school and in life.

Habitat for Humanity — brings families and communities in need together with volunteers and resources to build decent. affordable housing.

Helping.org — an online resource designed to help people find volunteer and giving opportunities in their own communities and beyond.

Make-A-Wish Foundation — more than 25,000 volunteers around the world help the Make-A-Wish Foundation to continue granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Meals on Wheels — provides low cost, hot, nourishing meals to elderly and disabled persons. To find a program near you, visit their Web site and enter your Zip Code in the Find a local Meal program search box in the upper right corner of their home page.

Mentor — connects adult mentors with schools and community organizations to help children discover how to unlock and achieve their potential.

National Retiree Volunteer Coalition — helps retirees and their former employers to develop and implement volunteering opportunities with a variety of local educational, environmental and community programs.

Peace Corps — offers older Americans the opportunity to do volunteer work overseas.

Senior Corps — a network of programs to meet community challenges — Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions and RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program).

USA Freedom Corps — links retirees and baby boomers to volunteer opportunities across the country.

Volunteer Match — an online matching service between local organizations and people who want to perform volunteer work.

Volunteers in Medicine Institute — connects retired doctors, nurses and dentists with opportunities to provide free medical services to individuals and families who have limited resources and no health insurance.

Volunteers of America — a national, nonprofit, spiritually-based organization providing local human service programs, and opportunities for individual and community involvement.

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