Which Month Ought to I Submit To Maximize My Social Safety Pension?

Ask Larry

Economic Security Planning, Inc.

Today’s column covers questions about what month to file to ensure you receive the maximum retirement pension of 70, what happens when a protection claim date expires, and whether survivor benefits include Late Retirement Credits (DRCs) earned by the deceased . Larry Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc., which markets Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner.

You can find more Ask Larry answers here.

Do you have any questions of your own about social security that you would like to have answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.

What is the maximum starting month for my social security pension?

Hi Larry, I am filling out the application to apply for my Social Security Pension application and am having trouble finding an answer to one point.

I will be 70 years old in June. Should I enter June as the start of the service or July? I waited until I was 70 to claim the benefit so I didn’t want to receive the benefit for 69 years and 11 months.

Would I get the maximum benefit from submitting my month of birth or the month after? I searched all sorts of SSA publications but couldn’t find anything clear on them. Thank you, Nicola

Hello Nicola, you would like to start the benefits in the month in which you turn 70 years old.

You don’t have to be over 70 all month to receive your full 70 year rate. Social security counts that you reach your next age on the day before your actual birthday. So if you were born in June and on a day other than June 1st, you should choose June as the month to start your benefits.

If you were born on June 1st, you will want to start your benefits in May because that month is when you will be classified as 70 years old by Social Security.

Incidentally, the social security pays the benefits a month later, so that your payment for the month of June will not arrive until sometime in July. Best of all, Larry

Am I at risk of losing performance?

Hi Larry, I’m 69 years old and I recently started applying for Social Security benefits online but then stopped because I ran into some questions that I need help with. I never completed the application process or signed the form.

When I asked Social Security for help, they said that I started my application process seven months ago and that it should be completed within six months. They made that sound like this wasn’t a good situation for me. You have scheduled me for the next available meeting with a Social Security representative, but it will be in two months.

I’m starting to worry. Am I at risk of compromising or even losing my performance? Is there anything i should do now? Thanks, Emily

Hi Emily, whether or not you are at risk of losing benefits depends on whether you intend to get benefits retrospectively.

When you start an online application, set a protection date that will protect for at least six months. During this time you can fill out your application and claim benefits retrospectively for up to six months before the month in which you set your protection application date.

It sounds like the protection date you would have set when you started an online application has now passed. Assuming this is the case, a new protection application date was set when you called to schedule an appointment to complete your application.

Based on this protection registration date, you have the option of starting your services six months before the month of your protection registration date, even if your actual date is in two months. In other words, if you called in April 2021 to schedule your appointment, you can have your benefits in effect as early as October 2020.

You should be aware, however, that the earlier you start drawing your social security pension before the age of 70, the lower your monthly payment will be. This is because by retrospectively filing, you are giving up the DRCs (Delayed Retirement Credits) that you would otherwise receive for those months if you did not filing retrospectively.

You may want to use my company’s software – Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner – to fully analyze the options available and determine your best strategy to maximize your benefits. Social security calculators provided by other companies or nonprofits can provide suitable suggestions if they have been prepared with the utmost care. Best of all, Larry

Should I get 100% of what my husband would have received, or just his 66 year amount?

Hello Larry, my husband just died at 68 1/2. He worked until September 2020. He had delayed filing his social security pension and was planning to take it by age 70.

I just called Social Security to switch from my own old-age pension to my widow’s benefit. I am 67 years old. The person I spoke to told me I could only draw what he would have received at full retirement age.

We were told the benefit of waiting until 70 would benefit both of us. Do I get 100% of what he would have received or is it reduced to his amount of 66? Thank you, Helen

Hello Helen, I’m sorry for your loss. What the social security representative told you is wrong.

Your widow’s benefit rate would include a credit for any Late Retirement Credits (DRCs) your husband earned by deferring his benefits from full retirement age (FRA) to the month of his death.

Just for the sake of clarity, you can’t stop using your own benefits and only collect the widow’s benefits instead.

Assuming your husband’s benefit rate is higher than yours, you will continue to receive your own benefit plus a widow’s partial benefit equal to the difference between your benefit rate and what your husband would have received if he had his month Death began to use his services.

Your combined benefit rate will then add up to your husband’s higher benefit rate, including his Democratic Republic of the Congo.

If you only received your own old-age pension and you did not receive a spouse’s pension, you must submit an application to be entitled to widow’s benefits. You want to start receiving the widow’s benefits from the month of your husband’s death because your widow’s rate will not get any higher if you wait to receive it later. Best of all, Larry

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