When to Start Social Security Asked Often; What
Happens When You Do Not Return Overpayment
There is an easy way and then there are options a
little tougher for SSA to recover any overpayment
20, 2013 The often asked questions is answered again by Oscar Garcia,
Informational Specialist with the Social Security Administration. He
also has answers for a more touchy question - what happens when you do
not repay and overpayment from SSA.
I will be 66 next month. I have already enrolled
in Medicare, but I have not started my Social Security. When would be
the best time to start my retirement benefits?
Everyones situation is different, but here is some
information that will help you decide what is best for you. The age you
start receiving benefits can make a big difference in your monthly
benefit amount. You may need your monthly income to be sufficient for a
long time, because more people are living longer than ever before. For
example, the typical 65-year-old today will live to age 83, and one in
four 65-year-olds will live to age 90.
If you choose to delay receiving your retirement
benefit beyond full retirement age, your benefit will be increased by as
much as 8 percent for each year up to age 70. Your benefits will no
longer increase if you delay beyond age 70.
An important reason to delay your benefits for as
long as possible is realized when it comes to paying survivors benefits
on your record. If you are married and die before your spouse, he or she
may be eligible for a benefit based on your work record. If you wait
until after your full retirement age to begin receiving benefits, the
surviving spouse benefits based on your record will be higher. The
longer you wait past full retirement age, the higher the benefit that
can be paid to your surviving spouse.
Some people choose to start benefits when they
reach full retirement age. This is because you can work and earn as much
as you want and still receive your full Social Security benefit payment.
Also, additional work may increase your benefits.
Each year we review the records for all Social Security recipients who
work. If your latest year of earnings turns out to be one of your
highest years, we refigure your benefit and pay you any increase due.
For more information and to find copies of our
publications, visit our website at
can also call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213. We can answer specific
questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you
will have a shorter wait time if you call early or late.
What happens if I do not repay my overpayment?
If you are currently receiving benefits, you can
agree to withhold a portion of your future month's payments. If you are
no longer receiving benefits, we can withhold any Federal payment you
may be due including your income tax refund.
We also can ask your employer to withhold some of
your wages to repay the overpayment, and we can collect the overpayment
from your benefits if you become entitled again later. Contact Social
Security to find out your best option for repaying the overpayment.
Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with
the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him
at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can
also email him at
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