If you have been working full-time and switch to part-time work shortly before you retire this can impact on your retirement benefits. Because Social Security uses a 35-year base to figure benefits, a few years of lower earnings have a minimal impact on potential benefits.
However, if you retire at a younger age, say age 58, you may receive $40 to $80 less in benefits each month than you would have received had you waited until age 62 to retire. You have to weigh the value of your “free” time against the value of your Social Security benefit.
We all have different earnings histories and different work patterns so it is best that you use Social Security’s Online Retirement Estimator, which is available at www.ssa.gov, to get an estimate based upon your work plans.