"Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

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winski58
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"Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by winski58 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:38 am

I suspended SS benefits at 66 and will apply (unsuspend) this year for benefits when I turn 70 in November. Can this be done online or will it require a phone call or visit to the SS office?

winski58
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by winski58 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:18 am

...or do they start automatically the month you reach age 70?

dbr
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:11 am

winski58 wrote:...or do they start automatically the month you reach age 70?


When I turned 70 it seems to me benefits were just started automatically. But you should probably call to verify that is going to happen. When you applied you might have specified a date to begin benefits, ie 70th birthday.

Ron
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by Ron » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:28 pm

"If your benefit payments are suspended, they will start automatically the month you reach age 70."

Ref: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspend.html

- Ron

blgaarder
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by blgaarder » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:32 pm

It seems like I read somewhere that letting SSA automatically start benefits at 70 might result in a somewhat lower monthly benefit.

pshonore
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by pshonore » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:37 pm

blgaarder wrote:It seems like I read somewhere that letting SSA automatically start benefits at 70 might result in a somewhat lower monthly benefit.
I seem to recall that was because they "backdated" the benefits 6 months. You got a lump sum for the six months but 4% less or so in each check after that.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by fourwheelcycle » Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:28 pm

Go to this link https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/user-tips-faq and find this paragraph:

..... if you are filing for your retirement benefit at 70 and don't want to take 6 months of retroactive benefits, which will mean lower monthly payment checks, you might write: "I'm filing for my retirement benefit to begin on my 70th birthday and not a day sooner. I do not want to receive retroactive benefits if receiving such benefits will mean a permanently lower retirement benefit."

I also read about this problem, but I can't remember exactly where I read it. If I can find a clearer or more current explanation I will come back and edit this post to add it.

Edit: Here is another article on the same topic; this one is by the well known Larry Kotlikoff. Both links say to get a written confirmation that you do not want a retroactive benefit start date, but they don't say exactly how to state your desire, online or on the phone, in order to get a written confirmation. I'll keep looking for a more definitive guide.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kotlikoff/2 ... 2e99d36d0b

winski58
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by winski58 » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:44 pm

I just found a letter from SS when I filed and suspended at 66. Here is a quote:

"As requested, we will not pay you beginning November 2013 in order to earn special credits that will increase the benefits you will receive at age 70. We will reinstate your benefits at age 70, adding the special credits to your benefit amount."

I assume this confirmation will assure they will not pull the "retroactive" thing? And my first payment in December will include the 32% additional credit.

dbr
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:03 pm

I didn't get any retroactive benefits, but I remember specifically writing on my application filed before I turned 66 that I wanted benefits to start on my 70th birthday. I also remember getting a call from SS going over all the elections to confirm exactly what was intended. I don't remember any mention of retroactive benefits being a possible election or policy.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by fourwheelcycle » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:07 pm

winski58 wrote:I just found a letter from SS when I filed and suspended at 66. Here is a quote:

"As requested, we will not pay you beginning November 2013 in order to earn special credits that will increase the benefits you will receive at age 70. We will reinstate your benefits at age 70, adding the special credits to your benefit amount."

I assume this confirmation will assure they will not pull the "retroactive" thing?


I hope you are right!

Here is an excerpt from my second link above:

"Jerry Lutz, the former Social Security technical expert who reviews much of what I (Larry Kotlikoff) write publicly about Social Security, helped me understand what was going on. Jerry consulted the SSA Program Operating Manual System and wrote me the following: “Based on SSA regulations, retroactivity is automatically applied to applications filed after FRA unless retroactivity is expressly restricted by the claimant,” he wrote."

Based on this, I am still waiting/looking for a definitive guide on how to be sure I communicate clearly with the SSA and get a written confirmation that my benefits will be reinstated when I reach 70 without any retroactive benefit period.

dbr
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by dbr » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:10 pm

fourwheelcycle wrote:
winski58 wrote:I just found a letter from SS when I filed and suspended at 66. Here is a quote:

"As requested, we will not pay you beginning November 2013 in order to earn special credits that will increase the benefits you will receive at age 70. We will reinstate your benefits at age 70, adding the special credits to your benefit amount."

I assume this confirmation will assure they will not pull the "retroactive" thing?


I hope you are right!

Here is an excerpt from my second link above:

"Jerry Lutz, the former Social Security technical expert who reviews much of what I (Larry Kotlikoff) write publicly about Social Security, helped me understand what was going on. Jerry consulted the SSA Program Operating Manual System and wrote me the following: “Based on SSA regulations, retroactivity is automatically applied to applications filed after FRA unless retroactivity is expressly restricted by the claimant,” he wrote."

Based on this, I am still waiting/looking for a definitive guide on how to be sure I communicate clearly with the SSA and get a written confirmation that my benefits will be reinstated when I reach 70 without any retroactive benefit period.


Now the interesting thing about that is my filing was before (three months before, to be exact) FRA. In that quote it talks about people lapsing till after FRA to file and then trying to suspend.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by fourwheelcycle » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:52 pm

dbr wrote:Now the interesting thing about that is my filing was before (three months before, to be exact) FRA. In that quote it talks about people lapsing till after FRA to file and then trying to suspend.


I noticed the same thing when I read the quote, but I don't know whether "after FRA" was meant to refer to applications to suspend or applications to reinstate. My application to suspend was also filed three months before I reached age 66, but my application to reinstate will be filed "after FRA".

The quote's pairing of "unless retroactivity is expressly restricted by the claimant" with "after FRA" makes me think the quote may have been referring to applications to reinstate, not applications to suspend.

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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by dcnut » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:47 pm

I also suspended at age 66. A couple of years ago I turned 70. I called them in the month before I turned 70. As usual, I made an appointment for a telephone conference about 3 weeks later. At that time, I explained that I wanted to start up my SS payments starting with age 70 so as to maximize my award. No problems, and I received the first SS payment for the month in which I turned 70 (actually paid in the month after my birthday month).
Glenn

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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:48 pm

The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

winski58
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by winski58 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:02 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.


thanks, Mike. Great info. as always.

blgaarder
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by blgaarder » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:19 am

winski58 wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.


thanks, Mike. Great info. as always.



Is this part about unsuspending at 70 true, even if you didn't make any statement about not wanting retroactive payments when you filed and suspended?

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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:02 pm

blgaarder wrote:
winski58 wrote:
ObliviousInvestor wrote:The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.


thanks, Mike. Great info. as always.



Is this part about unsuspending at 70 true, even if you didn't make any statement about not wanting retroactive payments when you filed and suspended?

When originally filing and suspending, the only decision you could make regarding retroactivity would be whether you want collect retroactive benefits at that time (i.e., going back 6 months or until FRA if you're less than 6 months beyond FRA).

Just to reiterate, the whole business about automatic retroactivity is only with regard to applications.

If you want to read the rules regarding unsuspension:
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0202409130
Mike Piper, author/blogger

winski58
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by winski58 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:59 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:48 pm
The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.
My wife started spousal at FRA. And I believe she needed to Suspend before applying for Spousal Benefits. So am I correct in assuming her own benefit will automatically start at 70 without retroactivity?

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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:01 pm

winski58 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:59 pm
ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:48 pm
The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.
My wife started spousal at FRA. And I believe she needed to Suspend before applying for Spousal Benefits. So am I correct in assuming her own benefit will automatically start at 70 without retroactivity?
She very probably did not file for and suspend her own benefit. (At the least, doing so would have reduced the amount she received as your spouse. If her PIA is at least 50% of your PIA, it would have completely eliminated her ability to receive a spousal benefit.)

So, she probably will have to file for her own benefit to start at 70. And if she doesn't want retroactivity, she should state so.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

winski58
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by winski58 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:35 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:01 pm
winski58 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:59 pm
ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:48 pm
The key point here is whether or not the person has filed.

If you haven't filed for benefits by 70, they don't start automatically.

Conversely, if you did file -- but you have suspended your benefits -- they will unsuspend automatically at 70.

Regarding automatic retroactive filing: For a person filing after FRA, retroactivity is automatically applied, though it's super easy to have it not applied if you don't want it applied. (Just tell the SSA what you want.) Note that automatic retroactivity isn't relevant when you're unsuspending at 70, because an unsuspension is not an application.
My wife started spousal at FRA. And I believe she needed to Suspend before applying for Spousal Benefits. So am I correct in assuming her own benefit will automatically start at 70 without retroactivity?
She very probably did not file for and suspend her own benefit. (At the least, doing so would have reduced the amount she received as your spouse. If her PIA is at least 50% of your PIA, it would have completely eliminated her ability to receive a spousal benefit.)

So, she probably will have to file for her own benefit to start at 70. And if she doesn't want retroactivity, she should state so.
thanks...How long before her 70th birthday should she apply for her own benefit in order to avoid the retroactivity?

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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:05 pm

winski58 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:35 pm
How long before her 70th birthday should she apply for her own benefit in order to avoid the retroactivity?
The same rule as with any other application applies here. That is, she can apply up to 3 months in advance of when she wants the benefit to start.

And, if she wants to avoid retroactivity, she should state that she does not want any retroactive benefits.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

stlrick
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by stlrick » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:10 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:05 pm
winski58 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:35 pm
How long before her 70th birthday should she apply for her own benefit in order to avoid the retroactivity?
The same rule as with any other application applies here. That is, she can apply up to 3 months in advance of when she wants the benefit to start.

And, if she wants to avoid retroactivity, she should state that she does not want any retroactive benefits.
For someone switching from a spousal benefit received from a restricted application to their own benefit at age 70, what is the procedure for applying? As best as I can tell, the application online is an application for new benefits. Can that be used to make a switch, or does one need to set up a telephone application or visit an office?

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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:31 pm

stlrick wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:10 pm
ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:05 pm
winski58 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:35 pm
How long before her 70th birthday should she apply for her own benefit in order to avoid the retroactivity?
The same rule as with any other application applies here. That is, she can apply up to 3 months in advance of when she wants the benefit to start.

And, if she wants to avoid retroactivity, she should state that she does not want any retroactive benefits.
For someone switching from a spousal benefit received from a restricted application to their own benefit at age 70, what is the procedure for applying? As best as I can tell, the application online is an application for new benefits. Can that be used to make a switch, or does one need to set up a telephone application or visit an office?
I have never done it myself of course, but I have been told that the online application can be used to apply for retirement benefits even if an earlier application had been filed for spousal benefits.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

dbr
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by dbr » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:38 pm

My wife recently received a letter from SS that says:

"You get monthly benefits as a spouse. If you apply for retirement benefits on your own social security number our records show you may get higher benefits.

You must apply before we can pay the higher benefit amount. You can apply conveniently at www.socialsecurity.gov on the Internet, in person or by telephone. To use our secure website to apply, under Benefits link click Apply Online for Retirement. You can access and complete the application there."

Sounds pretty clear to me. They do not explain in the letter that it might be to a person's advantage to wait until three months before age 70 and to be sure benefits are not made retroactive. I think we may call to make sure everything is correctly understood.

Ron
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by Ron » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:20 pm

dbr wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:38 pm
You must apply before we can pay the higher benefit amount. You can apply conveniently at www.socialsecurity.gov on the Internet, in person or by telephone. To use our secure website to apply, under Benefits link click Apply Online for Retirement. You can access and complete the application there."

Sounds pretty clear to me. They do not explain in the letter that it might be to a person's advantage to wait until three months before age 70 and to be sure benefits are not made retroactive. I think we may call to make sure everything is correctly understood.
I would recommend you have your wife go onto the site and see where she can change from spousal to her own.

My wife is also getting spousal benefits (under a restricted application against my SS). Nowhere (that I can see) is there a way to apply for her own benefits (next year) and stop the benefits she is currently receiving.

We always planned on calling SS a month or two before her birthday, in May. Since she will continue to receive her/my benefit through May and will accrue for the June payment and since everything is set up (direct deposit account info, etc.) we figured we don't have to do anything until just before the changeover. It's not like she never contacted SS at all, and if there is a slight delay, any adjustment would come through in the July payment, or later.

FWIW,

- Ron

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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:04 pm

Ron wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:20 pm
dbr wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:38 pm
You must apply before we can pay the higher benefit amount. You can apply conveniently at www.socialsecurity.gov on the Internet, in person or by telephone. To use our secure website to apply, under Benefits link click Apply Online for Retirement. You can access and complete the application there."

Sounds pretty clear to me. They do not explain in the letter that it might be to a person's advantage to wait until three months before age 70 and to be sure benefits are not made retroactive. I think we may call to make sure everything is correctly understood.
I would recommend you have your wife go onto the site and see where she can change from spousal to her own.

My wife is also getting spousal benefits (under a restricted application against my SS). Nowhere (that I can see) is there a way to apply for her own benefits (next year) and stop the benefits she is currently receiving.
Again, I haven't done it myself, but I've heard from several people who have done this online without a problem. There's no need for her to say, "I want to stop my benefit as a spouse." All she would have to do is fill out the normal online application for retirement benefits, and they would recalculate her total monthly benefit as appropriate.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

Ron
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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by Ron » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:16 pm

ObliviousInvestor wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:04 pm
Ron wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:20 pm
dbr wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:38 pm
You must apply before we can pay the higher benefit amount. You can apply conveniently at www.socialsecurity.gov on the Internet, in person or by telephone. To use our secure website to apply, under Benefits link click Apply Online for Retirement. You can access and complete the application there."

Sounds pretty clear to me. They do not explain in the letter that it might be to a person's advantage to wait until three months before age 70 and to be sure benefits are not made retroactive. I think we may call to make sure everything is correctly understood.
I would recommend you have your wife go onto the site and see where she can change from spousal to her own.

My wife is also getting spousal benefits (under a restricted application against my SS). Nowhere (that I can see) is there a way to apply for her own benefits (next year) and stop the benefits she is currently receiving.
Again, I haven't done it myself, but I've heard from several people who have done this online without a problem. There's no need for her to say, "I want to stop my benefit as a spouse." All she would have to do is fill out the normal online application for retirement benefits, and they would recalculate her total monthly benefit as appropriate.
Ok, I tried a dummy application/request for my wife using https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/rib and that works. Since you are not signing into your account established on "My SS", you get the normal application screen, not the benefit screen on "My SS" even though the "My SS" screen shows all the current information pertaining to your existing benefits.

As for my own benefit (birthday in January, first check/deposit in February 2018), it will not allow me to re-apply using the https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/rib site. If I do, I get a message stating that I cannot apply for benefits (since I'm already in suspend mode) and I need to contact SS directly.

I had contacted SS earlier this year to ensure that the process outlined in https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0202409130 would not require me to do anything, and any retro payments would not automatically take place. They assured me that this would not be the case. I turn 70 in January (in two months) and since they have all the necessary information (including my bank routing/account number), my first payment should be made automatically on February 14th without further intervention on my part.

My wife will now just fill out the normal form on-line to claim her benefit in May - her 70th birthday since the file/suspend POM does not apply to her since she filed a restricted application at age 66. Currently, there is popup that allowed selection of a month for benefits to start but it only goes up to March, 2018. She will have to wait another two months to submit her claim.

For me/us, the confusion came in by trying to use the My SS site to apply for benefits while currently receiving spousal payments. You just have to go to the main SS site to submit a request for benefits without worrying about what's on your current view under My SS.

FWIW,

- Ron

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Re: "Unsuspending" Social Security Benefits

Post by ObliviousInvestor » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:25 pm

Thank you for reporting back with your experience, Ron. That is helpful for those of us who must learn everything second-hand.
Mike Piper, author/blogger

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