Social Security Retirement Process Time

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Danielle896
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Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Danielle896 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:31 pm

I submitted my application electronically back in September requesting they start payments in January 2020. Status still shows initial processing. I did bring in additional documents they requested back in September.

Do they give you much advance notice when they have finished processing or do you generally find the money in your account on approximately the same day they confirm the amount?

Debating if I should go into the office and follow up or just patiently wait. Timing is not critical for me, but I would like to do some financial / tax planning for tax year 2020.


Danielle

jebmke
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by jebmke » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:40 pm

My wife and I applied over the phone (late Nov to start Jan 2020); I had to produce a certified marriage certificate since I am claiming a spousal benefit.

They said that payments are in arrears and her January benefit should hit her account at the beginning of February. I will be checking as well. Mine may well be delayed due to the certification process.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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GerryL
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by GerryL » Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:58 pm

Back when I was approaching 70, I planned to apply 3 months before my birthday. But they sent me a note around 5 months before the big day prompting me to go ahead and apply. I did so. Online. Then silence. No communication.

I kept checking my SS account and saw that my application was processing. As my birth month approached and I prepared to leave town for several weeks, I started calling. I didn't want to get back into town expecting my first check only to find that there was some kind of mix up. But they said there were no problems with the application. I finally got my determination letter just before I left town, and the first deposit went into my account just as it was supposed to. Still don't understand why they wanted me to apply so early.

If you have yet to receive your determination letter telling you the exact amount of your benefit and what day it will be deposited each month AND you are expecting a January benefit, sounds like you might want to make a call.

I'm assuming you have checked your SS account page and have not seen any communication there.

phornsby
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by phornsby » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:19 pm

I applied online in August. Didn't hear anything until October when I received a letter stating that I should go to SS office to show my ID. I did so and filled out a form confirming that I wanted to apply for retirement benefits. Then I waited… after a couple of months I called the toll free number and found they had no record of my visit and no form. So I went back to the SS office and filled out the form again. Last week I called to see what was happening and I found out that the form “had been put on the wrong person's desk.” They were going to try to see who it should go to…

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Stinky
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Stinky » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 am

Danielle896 wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:31 pm
I submitted my application electronically back in September requesting they start payments in January 2020. Status still shows initial processing. I did bring in additional documents they requested back in September.

Do they give you much advance notice when they have finished processing or do you generally find the money in your account on approximately the same day they confirm the amount?

Debating if I should go into the office and follow up or just patiently wait. Timing is not critical for me, but I would like to do some financial / tax planning for tax year 2020.

Danielle
My timing almost exactly parallels yours, but the first deposit did hit my account last week.

You’re probably aware of this, but SS pays a month in arrears. So my official “benefits start” date was Dec 2019, but the first deposit didn’t hit until Jan 2020.

Given your timing, I would either go to the office or call them. We had pretty good luck with phone calls getting both SS and Medicare started. There’s likely no problem, but there’s also no reason to be fretting about this when you can take easy action.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

phornsby
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by phornsby » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:39 am

Danielle896 wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:31 pm
I submitted my application electronically back in September requesting they start payments in January 2020. Status still shows initial processing. I did bring in additional documents they requested back in September.

Do they give you much advance notice when they have finished processing or do you generally find the money in your account on approximately the same day they confirm the amount?
The time taken for processing a retirement application varies greatly, with most being processed rapidly and a smaller number taking much longer, several months to a year in some cases. For example - this news article from October last year shows there can be a delay of 8 months: https://www.kmov.com/news/investigation ... 25ea6.html

triggertreat
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by triggertreat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:06 am

Did mine online. Submitted on Sunday. They requested a copy of my 2019 W2. I received notification on Thursday that it had been approved and was given my payment info.

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Stinky
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Stinky » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:11 pm

triggertreat wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:06 am
Did mine online. Submitted on Sunday. They requested a copy of my 2019 W2. I received notification on Thursday that it had been approved and was given my payment info.
My gosh!

Based on my experience with SS and Medicare, you got tremendously expedited service.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

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GerryL
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by GerryL » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:48 pm

Stinky wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:11 pm
triggertreat wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:06 am
Did mine online. Submitted on Sunday. They requested a copy of my 2019 W2. I received notification on Thursday that it had been approved and was given my payment info.
My gosh!

Based on my experience with SS and Medicare, you got tremendously expedited service.
It may be that the earlier you apply the more time they take to process the application, with the result that someone who applies waaaay early ends up being slow-walked until the very end. Oh, plenty of time to do this. No rush.

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Eagle33
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Eagle33 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:28 am

Stinky wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 am
You’re probably aware of this, but SS pays a month in arrears. So my official “benefits start” date was Dec 2019, but the first deposit didn’t hit until Jan 2020.
Is your first SS check considered tax year 2019 income or tax year 2020 income?
Rocket science is not “rocket science” to a rocket scientist, just as personal finance is not “rocket science” to a Boglehead.

triggertreat
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by triggertreat » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:31 am

Stinky wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:11 pm
triggertreat wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:06 am
Did mine online. Submitted on Sunday. They requested a copy of my 2019 W2. I received notification on Thursday that it had been approved and was given my payment info.
My gosh!

Based on my experience with SS and Medicare, you got tremendously expedited service.
It must have been a slow day in the office! I was really surprised too.

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Stinky
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Stinky » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:58 am

Eagle33 wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:28 am
Stinky wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 am
You’re probably aware of this, but SS pays a month in arrears. So my official “benefits start” date was Dec 2019, but the first deposit didn’t hit until Jan 2020.
Is your first SS check considered tax year 2019 income or tax year 2020 income?
My understanding is that my first check, received in Jan 2020, will be taxable income for 2020. When I was working, I was taxed on income when I received it, rather than when it was “earned”, and I believe that SS is the same way.

(If I’m wrong, I’m sure that some of the good BHs will correct me)
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

phornsby
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by phornsby » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:51 am

Stinky wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:58 am
My understanding is that my first check, received in Jan 2020, will be taxable income for 2020. When I was working, I was taxed on income when I received it, rather than when it was “earned”, and I believe that SS is the same way.
I am wondering what happens in the case of SS payments received in 2020 for earlier months in 2019. I have a claim pending for retirement benefits that should have begun with my 70th birthday in September (i.e. there should be payments for October through December). If these are received in 2020 will SSA issue a 1099 indicating that all the money was received in 2020 (i.e. for 15 months)? Or will they issue a separate 1099 for the 2019 payments even though the money was received in 2020?

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dodecahedron
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by dodecahedron » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:00 am

Stinky wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:58 am
Eagle33 wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:28 am
Stinky wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:15 am
You’re probably aware of this, but SS pays a month in arrears. So my official “benefits start” date was Dec 2019, but the first deposit didn’t hit until Jan 2020.
Is your first SS check considered tax year 2019 income or tax year 2020 income?
My understanding is that my first check, received in Jan 2020, will be taxable income for 2020. When I was working, I was taxed on income when I received it, rather than when it was “earned”, and I believe that SS is the same way.

(If I’m wrong, I’m sure that some of the good BHs will correct me)
Stinky is correct. As with wages, SS benefits are taxed on a cash basis (in tax year actually received) not on an accrual basis.

Edited to add: this cash basis for SS benefits can sometimes be quite disadvantageous, as when a beneficiary receives a large lumpsum SS payment covering multiple years of prior year benefits. (This frequently happens in SS disability cases, which can take years to process.) There is an optional workaround to calculate the taxable portion of SS benefits to somewhat mitigate this.

https://www.irs.gov/faqs/social-securit ... k-payments

phornsby
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by phornsby » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:31 am

This is an old post, but relevant here:
2beachcombers wrote:
Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:35 am
Mike, I called SS yesterday and was surprised at the following:

I turn 70 next year in Aug and was planning on not requesting payment till Dec in order to defer income to the following year(marginal tax threshold issues). The SS lady said yes, you would be paid retro, but you would get a 1099 for the year originally due to you. Interesting that in general, tax is due wrt the year you receive the income. :oops:

jerry
Any comments - anyone had direct experience with this?

jebmke
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by jebmke » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:23 am

phornsby wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:31 am
This is an old post, but relevant here:
2beachcombers wrote:
Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:35 am
Mike, I called SS yesterday and was surprised at the following:

I turn 70 next year in Aug and was planning on not requesting payment till Dec in order to defer income to the following year(marginal tax threshold issues). The SS lady said yes, you would be paid retro, but you would get a 1099 for the year originally due to you. Interesting that in general, tax is due wrt the year you receive the income. :oops:

jerry
Any comments - anyone had direct experience with this?
The lump sum guidelines may apply here - not sure. Normally if there are lump sums that apply to prior year you have the option to report the total normally or there is a method for reporting lump sums that look at prior income to determine the portion of the lump sum that is taxable. The IRS web site would have guidance on this.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Topic Author
Danielle896
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Danielle896 » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:25 am

Regarding lump sums that includes payments for prior years, Turbo tax does query you for that information. For each prior year it asks you for the year, the portion applicable to the prior year, and your taxable income for that prior year. It creates a worksheet that may reduce your social security taxable income for the current year. (I did see a note somewhere that you do not have to refile for the previous years.)

Topic Author
Danielle896
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by Danielle896 » Wed Feb 05, 2020 3:33 pm

Just thought I would report back to the forum here. I went into the Soc Sec office near the end of Jan and they advised everything was complete and the lady at the window said she would release the verification letter. I found the Jan deposit in my account a few days later and I eventually was able to find the verification letter on line.

phornsby
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Re: Social Security Retirement Process Time

Post by phornsby » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:09 pm

phornsby wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:19 pm
I applied online in August. Didn't hear anything until October when I received a letter stating that I should go to SS office to show my ID. I did so and filled out a form confirming that I wanted to apply for retirement benefits. Then I waited… after a couple of months I called the toll free number and found they had no record of my visit and no form. So I went back to the SS office and filled out the form again. Last week I called to see what was happening and I found out that the form “had been put on the wrong person's desk.” They were going to try to see who it should go to…
I wanted to provide an update on my application for social security retirement benefits, which seems to have finally reached a successful conclusion, with lessons learned…

1, an apparently straightforward application (filed online) can be flagged for further review for mysterious reasons. The only explanation I got, from one SS representative, is that it was because my mailing address is a PO box. But I'm not sure if she was right, and in any case the forms I filled out at that visit, back in October, were never filed. In fact the SSA has no record of that office visit at all - even though they do have records of my visits to the SS office at other times even when I was never seen by anyone (I just entered my SSN at the sign-in kiosk, but got tired of waiting).

2, persistence is needed. After I went back to the SS office a couple of months later and filled out the forms again, I called the office at roughly weekly intervals to see what was happening. Each time I called I found my file was on the desk of a different person. Finally it was transferred to the assistant manager and that seems to have done the trick. Last week I called as usual and spoke to yet another new person, who almost seemed to take my application over again (including some questions never asked before) and then said she would give the details to the assistant manager. Two days later I got an alert that a large amount of money had just been deposited in my bank account. Looking at myssa online, it indicated that a decision on my application had been made the day before (one day after my last phone call).

Doing some online research, I came across a Congressional report (although it was from about 10 years ago) that detailed how the SSA had followed about 1000 applications to see how they all eventually turned out. They allowed a year from the filing date to get the status of all 1000 applications, so indicating that the tail end of a long skewed curve of processing times extends that far out. I know most people get much more rapid processing than that of course, but mine took almost exactly 6 months from the date of the online application to receiving the money in my account.

Although I know the SSA strongly encourages online applications, mine would have been much easier if I had started out with an office visit instead.

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