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  #1  
Old 12-12-2018, 11:14 AM
Steve White Steve White is offline
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Default Collecting Social Security at 70

I'm confused, and calling Social Security didn't help.

I'm retired but currently suspending payments (applied for benefits so spouse could collect on my record, but haven't collecting any benefits for myself yet). By suspending, the benefit increases until about age 70. Details of that "about age 70" are what I'm after.

These questions are based on a hypothetical Aug 6, 1949 birthday (year accurate, exact date not).

When I asked Social Security about it before, they said payments are on the first of the month, so the maximum increase would be based on a requested start date of Sept 1, 2019 (earliest X,1 after age 70; Aug 1 would be before age 70).

Today, primarily calling about a different social security screwup, I asked that question again, and was told that the start date needs to be at least age 70 + 30 days, which (as of a first of month) would be Oct 1, 2019.

Then there was some really confusing statement about "the third Wednesday of the month", being the third Wed after Sept 6, 2019 (age 70 + 30 days), thus after Sept 18, 2019.

Does anyone know what start date to request for an Aug 6, 1949 birthday to get the maximum monthly benefit? I'll PM Bruce, since he will know, and has helped me on SS before.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:36 AM
Steve White Steve White is offline
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Another gripe, from last week about government phone responses and date confusion. Not social security, but same government.

My wife is executor of her mother's estate, which had some paper EE bonds, that she wanted to reissue in the beneficiary's names. I called three times, because I didn't ask all the questions in the first two calls. All three times had very short wait times, and the first two calls the service was excellent. The third call also had excellent service, I think, but a bizarre response.

The requirements, clearly spelled out on the forms, was that we needed to include the letter naming her as executor, not more than 1 year old. That "1 year old" was the only point of the third call (also, what to do if it was more than 1 year old). I needed to know whether that was "1 year old" when they received the information from us, or "1 year old" when they would finish the reissue process. My impression was that the reissue process would take about 20 days, but it our fact situation, the letter would be almost 1 year old when they received it, past one year old a week after they received it.
The answer stunned me. He said the Treasury does everything as of the first of the month, so a letter issued Dec 18, 2017 was already more than a year old on Dec 2, 2018.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:43 AM
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My understanding of SS is that you will always receive benefits the month after the month you state you wish to begin collecting. If you want full increases, based on a birth date of August 6, 1949, October is the earliest date you could receive them. If you want to begin receiving in September, you can, but you'll lose out on a month of increases.

I don't work in retirement anymore, though, so my recollection may be off.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:55 AM
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It's really hard to get accurate information at this level of detail from SSA's front-line employees. They really don't know, but they make educated guesses that may or may not be correct. I'll try to walk through the relevant issues here:

1. Someone born on August 6, 1949, would be 70 for Social Security purposes on August 1, 2019, and could receive the maximum benefit (for that person) for that month, August. The person would be deemed to be age 70 for the entire month.

2. Of course, Social Security has always paid benefits in arrears, so the benefit for the month of August would actually be paid in September.

3. The benefit payment date depends on your date of birth. People born on days 1-10 get paid on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. People born on days 11-20 get paid on the 3rd Wednesday. People born on days 21-31 get paid on the 4th Wednesday. (People who became eligible before 1997 get paid on the 3rd of the month, normally, but let's ignore that in this context.)

4. Benefits can be paid up to six months retroactively, so waiting until September or October to apply does no harm. They would normally pay retroactively back to August. Waiting more than six months would result in permanent benefit loss.

Does that answer all the questions?

Bruce
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:58 AM
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^ This guy always knows more than I do.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:01 PM
Steve White Steve White is offline
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Thanks, Bruce. And thanks for trying, NA, and for being better at explaining than the social security people on the phone.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:20 PM
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By the way, the U.S. Government generally uses a "day of attainment" concept that I amusedly follow in my personal life. You "attain" any particular age on the day prior to your birthday. So, for example, if your 70th birthday is August 6, 2019, then you attain age 70 on August 5.

As a result, special (somewhat surprising) rules apply to people born on the first and second days on each month. Someone born on, say, August 1 would attain any given age on July 31 -- and, for example, would be 62 for Social Security purposes as of July, but not for the entire month (just for 1 day).

Someone born on the 2nd of any month would attain any given age on the 1st of that same month. This is important with regard to attaining age 62, in particular, because you must be eligible for the entire month to receive benefits for that month. More precisely, you must be eligible on the 1st of the month (check for those born on the 2nd) and eligible on the last day of the month (meaning: alive on that day). If you die during any month, then you cannot receive benefits for that month.

People who were not born on the 2nd day of a month normally cannot receive benefits at age 62 at all, because they could not be eligible for the entire month in which they attain age 62. They must wait until they are age 62 years and 1 month.

Bruce
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:24 PM
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The scary thing is, I bet some of this craziness was dreamed up in order to "simplify" things.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:16 PM
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I have heard anecdotes about people attempting to apply at age 70 and then having the six month backdating applied --- this can result in not getting the full stipend that would be available at 70. Be careful.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NerdAlert View Post
^ This guy always knows more than I do.
Me too. I did know most of the answer to #2 and #3. I waited until age 70 (Ins co age last birthday) to retire. My employer kept me on to the end of the month of January - my birthday's in mid-January so I know that I get paid SS on the third Wed., but I didn't know the rest of the schedule.


By the way, I chose to retire at age 70 because of the letter I got from SS saying that the benefit age adjustment stopped at that age. Otherwise, I had been willing to keep working for as long as I was healthy enough to do so.
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