Common Questions with Social Security:

| May 15, 2015

Mike's Blog

Social Security is a very important topic to us and I’m sure to you as well. In today’s blog, we are going to cover some commonly asked questions people have about Social Security and these are probably questions that you have as well.

So without exception, the most commonly asked question is: When should I retire? Seems like a reasonable question.

This is the most common question and generally the answer is - later is better because the longer you wait to file, the higher your permanent benefit will be. But the answer in reality can be very complex. Anyone with a spouse or an ex-spouse, deceased or alive, will want to coordinate those spousal or survivor benefits with their own social security benefits.

Baby Boomers are unique in two ways:

  1. More women have worked so they qualify for Social Security on their own work record.
  2. And multiple marriages are common, which means you might have more opportunities for spousal and survivor benefits than you realize!

This is why it is vitally important to investigate your social security options before you file. There may be benefits you are not aware of. We know of high wage earning widows who were not aware they were eligible for survivor benefits.

What can people do, if anything, who filed for early benefits and now regret it?

If it’s been less than 12 months since you applied, you can withdraw your application and repay the benefits. Then you’re free to apply at any time in the future. This is the best route to take if the withdrawal window is still open.

What if it’s been longer than 12 months? Are you out of luck?

This one is really interesting, you are not out of luck. There’s a couple things you may be able to do.

  1. IF you are now over social security full retirement age, usually 66 to 67, you can suspend your benefit and earn 8% annual delayed credits on the current amount until you are age 70. This one is pretty straightforward.
  2. If you are UNDER full retirement age, you cannot voluntarily suspend your benefit, but you can accomplish the same thing with something Social Security calls ‘the earnings test’. It involves having a job with earnings of a certain amount each year to cause all your benefits to be withheld. So, if you have filed and regret it, and are under full retirement age, there is another option for you through the earnings test. It’s a bit too involved to explain it here, but if you would like to know how that works, you can contact us for more information on this subject.

We would encourage you to contact us with any questions you have about Social Security. Thanks for reading!

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.