Is The Information Given Out By SSA Staff Correct?

Jun 7 2018 - 11:01am

I called the SSA regarding applying for SSA retirement benefits, and I was informed by the representative that if I filed after my full retiement age (fra), 66 plus 2 months, that if I wanted to increase my monthly benefit by filing after my FRA, that I would need to wait a full year to get any increase in monthly benefits. It is my understanding your montly benefit would increase each MONTH that you wait past your FRA; and that I need not wait the full 12 months as I was informed by SSA. Is the information given out by SSA staff correct? It seems every time I call them I get a wrong answer and it is impossible to get any correct information from their staff. Is this the norm at SSA, untrained, unqualified CSR's giving erroneous and wrong answers over the phone?

Hi,

I have no way of judging the qualifications and training of current Social Security employees. I can only tell you that I felt the qualifications and training were very good as a whole during the time I worked there, but judging from some of the letters submitted to this forum it sounds like quality of service has declined since I left.

You can earn delayed retirement credits (DRC) for less than a full year, but the DRCs may not be used immediately in the calculation of your benefit rate if you start drawing in any month other than January or the month in which you reach age 70. If you file to start your benefits in any other month you are initially only credited with any DRCs that you had accrued through December of the year prior to filing. Your benefit rate would then be adjusted effective with the following January to credit additional DRCs for the year of filing.

For example, say Tom is eligible for a full retirement age rate (PIA) of $2000. Tom was born on June 6 1952 so his full retirement age is 66. If Tom files for his retirement benefits effective with August 2018, he would initially be paid only his PIA of $2000. Then, effective with January 2019 his benefit rate would be adjusted to $2026 to credit him with 2 DRCs for the months June and July 2018 for which he elected not to claim benefits.

By the way, the benefit adjustments to credit partial year DRCs are not processed immediately. My understanding is that automated process used to adjust rates for partial year DRCs is only done every other year. So, Tom in the example above may not see his rate increase until sometime during the year 2020. His increase would be paid retroactively to January 2019, however.

Before you decide on when to start drawing your benefits, you should strongly consider using our maximization software to explore and compare your options.

Best, Jerry