So You Plan to Pay Back Social Security and Reapply
at Your Older Age for Higher Benefits?
You better read this Social Security Q&A column
before you get too far along with this plan!
June 3, 2014 – There is a question below in this
week’s Social Security Q&A you should read. There is an idea for
boosting a retirees Social Security benefit that still gets kicked
around, although it has not been allowed for several years, as Oscar Garcia,
Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration,
points out in answering a senior’s question. There is also a question
from a divorced widow – an area where Social Security can often be
I plan to wait until my full retirement age of 66
to begin my Social Security retirement. If I decide at the age of 70 to
pay back all the benefits I have received, will the Social Security
Administration allow me re-apply for my benefit at the higher rate?
The pay-back scenario you described is not
possible. It used to be that a person could do this, but the rules were
changed several years ago. The pay-back strategy is called a
"withdrawal" of your benefit application. While there is still a
possibility of withdrawing benefits, it has to be done within 12 months
of when the benefits started. This ensures that the person who is
withdrawing the application is doing so for a valid reason, such as a
return to work. You can read more about this at
My ex-husband recently passed away. We were married
for over 30 years. Am I able to collect on his social security when I am
60 at a reduced rate and then collect my retirement benefit when I am 66
or even later if I choose to wait?
Yes, you can apply for reduced benefits as a
divorced widow at age 60, and then you can delay your own Social
Security retirement until age 66 in order to receive 100% of your own
benefit. You can even wait as far as age 70 to claim your own retirement
Each month after age 66 that you delay your own
benefit, you will receive 2/3 of 1% added to your full benefit amount.
This adds up to 8% for every 12 months, which is a possibility of
another 32% on top of your full amount if you wait up to age 70.
In the meantime, you would have the divorced
widow’s benefit that you started receiving at age 60. Once you start
your own retirement benefit, the divorced widow’s benefit is no longer
There is something else to consider. The annual
work limit will apply to you until you reach full retirement age.
Therefore, if you are working at age 60, your earnings will be a factor
in whether or not you can receive the divorced widow’s benefit. The work
limit applies to a person who receives survivors benefits just the same
as it would for someone who is receiving retirement benefits. Here is
the link that explains the work limit,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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