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Early Retirement Self Employed

Hi - I am considering early retirement (I'm 63)  I have owned my business (embroidery) since 2000.  I have cut down my business in the past 3-4 years.  I don't take on new customers  - 95% of my business is wholesale embroidery (I do work for 2 companies - they get the jobs/customers to me and I put the embroidered logo on the items).  The more items they bring, the cheaper the cost.  My net income has been below what the SS limit is for years....so that isn't a concern.

However, because I do wholesale embroidery, it can take quite a few hours for relatively minimal pay (if it's large order).  The "substantial services" rule is confusing me.  Some months I might not work more than 45 hours in a month, but today one of my customers sent in a large order  - it's going to take more than 45 hours to complete.  Things can literally change daily - yesterday I didn't know about this order, today I do. 

 

How am I supposed to "know" what months I'll be over the 45 hours and what months I won't?  Does the  "substantial services" rule apply every month until I reach FRA?  The way it looks to me on the application, I have to let them know which months I MAY make over the limit or work more than 45 hours.  If I do file - and indicated I wouldn't be over the $ limit or hours for example June-Dec....but then something like this occurs, what do I do?  Do I call them?

I'm not at a point to completely stop working  - I need something to do part-time and the extra income would help.  My husband is retiring in Jan 2022 (age 64).  We plan on getting out of the snow for a few months next Spring and have time to do what we want to do. 

Sorry for rambling, but this this so confusing to me. 

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I think that this rule does not apply to you as it is a rule for "people who file for benefits mid-year have already earned more than their yearly earnings limit amount." Since you earn under your limit for the entire year, this would not apply to you.

Read closely at

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/rule.html

 

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