Social Security is a helpful source of income for those 62 or older. But if you retire before your full retirement age, which is currently 66, you need to understand how you can lose your benefits if you earn too much at your job. In addition, what many don't realize is that you can get some of those lost benefits back later.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, talks about working while taking early Social Security benefits. Dan notes that the wage limit for those ages 62 to 65 is $15,480, with you losing $1 of benefits for every $2 in earnings above that limit. For those reaching retirement age this year, a higher wage limit of $41,400 applies. But Dan also points out that you don't just lose the forfeited amounts forever. When Social Security takes away your benefits for a given month because you earned too much, the program later increases your monthly benefit check. The formula essentially gives you credit for the months you didn't get benefits, treating you as if you hadn't retired until a later age. Dan concludes that you might never get back all the money you forfeited by working and taking early benefits, but you at least will receive a portion of those lost amounts.

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