Anyone thinking of taking their Social Security benefit prior to full retirement age really does need to factor in their employment situation before making that decision. And the reason is because Social Security has a penalty system in place to discourage people from taking their benefit early, and then continuing to work.Now, the way the penalty system works is, Social Security will subject you to a work-related earnings test – meaning, they're going to look at your W-2, self-employment, that kind of income. They won't be looking at dividends and interest and long-term capital gains. But if that work-related income exceeds the current year's threshold, for every $2 above that threshold, Social Security's going to keep $1 of your Social Security check. So it's not going to take a whole lot of income for part or all of that check not to show up. And if you're going to sign up for a permanently lower check, and then not get it, well, that might not be such a great idea. Not sure if your work-related income exceeds this year’s threshold? Take the test here and see where you stand. Got more Social Security questions? Check out our fact sheet for further insights.   Rob Kron, Managing Director, is the head of Investment and Retirement Education for BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory group. He provides practical information on topics that are important to every saver and investor of every age. You can find more from Rob here.       The above commentary is based on Social Security laws in effect as of July 2014. Congress has made changes to the laws in the past, and can do so at any time in the future. This material is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. The information contained herein is based on current tax laws, which may change in the future. BlackRock cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. The information provided in these materials does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice. For more information visit BLACKROCK is a registered trademark of BlackRock, Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. ©2014 BlackRock, Inc.  All rights reserved. USR-4424