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Frequently Asked Questions

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Special payments are payments you receive after you retire for work you did before you started getting Social Security benefits. Special payments include bonuses, accumulated vacation or sick pay, severance pay, back pay, standby pay, sales commissions, and retirement payments. Deferred compensation reported on a W-2 form for 1 year but earned in a previous year is also considered a special payment. 

Usually, those payments will not affect your Social Security benefit if it’s for work done before you retired.

For more information (including additional types of payments that may qualify as a special payment) read our Special Payments After Retirement publication.

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