One of the biggest questions facing current and prospective retirees is whether to continue working after applying for Social Security benefits. By doing so, you are potentially putting your benefits at risk of being withheld.

But is this really as punitive as it seems? Does the Social Security Administration actually penalize people for working in retirement?

The answer to these questions is both yes and no. Yes, because current Social Security beneficiaries who earn more than $15,720 a year could have some of their benefits withheld prior to reaching full retirement at age 66. And no, because any withheld benefits will eventually be recouped.

To understand how these rules could impact you, scroll through the short presentation below, in which I explain the most important rules governing the relationship between working in retirement and your Social Security benefits.

Follow John Maxfield on Twitter at @OneMarlandRoad by clicking here. John still has 30 years before he qualifies for Social Security, but he's already counting down the days. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.