My husband and I have been on SS retirement for years. When each of us went to SS and applied for our SS; neither of us was told anything more than that we'd have to be in our mid-80's in order for us to achieve a greater overall payout benefit on our SS retirement--vs early retirement. My husband was a little over one year from full retirement. Spousal benefit and other options were not presented. Based upon SS's information and lack of information--we both took early retirement. We never knew about the other possibilities that we had until I saw Paul Solmon's PBS special last year. I immediately went out and purchased a copy of your book. What I learned--that I had not been told or given documentation that outlined our retirement options--brought me to tears.
We receive about $2300/month. My amateur calculations estimate that this is at least 60% less than we would have achieved--had our other SS options been presented to us by the SS representative with whom we each dealt. Or, if that representative had just presented us with a manual--anything.
The Anchorage SS tech expert indicates that we possibly could have achieved redress and correction of our retirement dollars--but that we would have had to challenged SS years ago. How can one appeal for benefits that one never knew existed? This same rep also acknowledged that their employees had provided applicants with the 80+ year trade off.
I know that we are far beyond the SS rules and regulations for appeal. Do you know of a litigator, who'd be willing to challenge SSA on our behalf? There must be thousands of other seniors in our economic situation who could benefit from a class action suit or other challenge to SSA's misinformation and lack of knowledge. Thanks, diane
I'm sorry that you find yourself in the situation that you are in.
I'm not familiar with any attorneys specializing in Social Security issues, so I don't know that's a possible course of action for you.
It sounds like you might be able to establish that you were misinformed by Social Security, although failing to give you information is different than misinforming you. If misinformation was established, it's conceivable that Social Security would allow you to withdraw the claims that you filed and reapply using a different strategy. Withdrawals are normally only permitted within one year of your original entitlement date, which is why misinformation would likely need to be established. However, withdrawing your previous claims would require you to repay the benefits you've received up to now. And, I don't have enough information about your circumstances to know if that's even advisable. For more information on Social Security's policy regarding misinformation, refer to this section of their operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204008.