Are Benefits Ever Recalculated?

Category: 
Jun 24 2016 - 4:45pm

Larry, I have another question that I never see addressed in any article on SS...and I do try to read all of them. If we continue to work after claiming SS, does SS take that new earned income into consideration if it is higher than some of our early years of income? How often, if ever, is there a review and an adjustment? Thanks for all your hard work on this topic!

Hi.

The answer is yes. Benefits are based on the worker's best 35 years of inflation adjusted earnings, and can be recomputed to include earnings after entitlement. Any increases due are effective with January of the year following the year of the higher earnings.

Until recently, at least, Social Security automatically processed the recomputations on an annual basis. I think that may have changed to less frequent schedule as SSA struggles to prioritize workloads. You can request a manual recomputation of benefits by visiting a Social Security office with proof or your most recent year's earnings. That will probably speed up the process somewhat, but regardless of when the recomputation is done, any increases are paid retroactive to January of the year the increase is due.

Best, Jerry