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Ask the Expert: Questions about Social Security and tax withholding

I've collected Social Security since I turned 70, but I still work. I have health coverage through my employer. Of course, that will change when I retire and apply for Medicare. I currently collect my Social Security benefit without having any taxes withheld from my check. If necessary, can I change that election and have taxes withheld? If so, can I do that when I stop working, but before I switch to Medicare?

You can change your mind about having taxes withheld from your Social Security check at any time. All you need to do is fill out Form W-4V, which you can download from the Internal Revenue Service website (, and return it your local Social Security office by mail.

Here's how to find your local office: Go online to, scroll down the page to the link for "Locate an Office by ZIP," and type in your ZIP code. A page will open with the street address and telephone number of your local Social Security office; if you get two options — "I Need Card Services" or "I Need Other Services" — click on "I Need Other Services."

I'm past 71, and I still work. I delayed taking my Social Security benefit until I was 70. As I continue to work, will the Social Security Administration continue to recalculate my benefits?

Yes. The agency recalculates your benefit every year as long as you work.

Your Social Security benefit is based on 35 years of your work history and determined by a formula using your highest earnings. The recalculation might modestly increase your benefit if your current earnings can replace an earlier year of lower earnings in that history.

The bottom line

Working in retirement can boost the size of your monthly Social Security check.

More information

TO ASK THE EXPERT Send questions to Include your name, address and phone numbers. Questions can be answered only in this column. Advice is offered as general guidance. Check with your own consultants for your specific needs.

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