Ask Larry

Filing For Benefits

Is It True That You Can Only File A Survivor Claim Up To Thirty Days In Advance?

Hi Larry If you file a survivor claim with social security the system only lets them activate it within 30 days. Not 3 months Is that true. Once a survivor claim is filed can it be cancelled Do you ever have to pay back the money.

Hi. No. You can apply for survivor benefits up to 4 months prior to the month you want to start drawing your benefits. Social Security's processing times vary depending on the circumstances involved, but that doesn't limit the time period that you're allowed to apply for benefits.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - 13:10

Does Social Security Pay Up To 6 Months Of Retroactive Benefits If A Person Files Late?

I am doing annual Roth conversions, but staying within my current 22% tax bracket, before I turn 70 (July 2023), about which time I plan to claim SS benefits. If I don't do these conversions, I will be in a higher tax bracket when I start taking RMDs at 72 (I have a pension now + Soc. Sec. @ 70 + a higher RMD @ 72, which will put me permanently in 24% bracket). Does Soc. Sec. pay up to 6 months retroactive benefits if a person files late?

Saturday, July 2, 2022 - 10:49

How Do I Answer The Application Question About Eligibility For Foreign Benefits?

Hi Larry, thanks for the responses and help with the questions in this forum. We have another question while filling out the retirement benefits application. Under the "Supplemental Information" section, it asks if we worked outside the US. We did stay and worked in Singapore and Hong Kong many years ago. So I would answer yes to this question. However, I was not sure about the subsequent question: "Eligible for benefits under a foreign social security system". I don't think it is eligible for benefits, and I don't claim benefits from these foreign countries.

Friday, May 13, 2022 - 15:42

How Should My Wife Answer These Application Questions?

Hi Larry,
Your book and articles are very helpful. My wife will reach her FRA at end of August this year and would like to start her benefits first, and then switch to spousal benefits next year when my benefits start. Watching the YouTube on filing SSA online, there are a couple of questions.
1. Under the benefits section, there is a question “Have you previously applied for Medicare, Social Security Benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? “
My wife had already started her Medicare last year, does she answer “Yes” to this question?

Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 18:43

How Can I Defer My Social Security Income For Tax Purposes?

Dear Professor Kotlikoff:

Thank you for your articles, books, blog and software! Your advocacy is a great service to all Americans.

I hope you will answer this question because I realize it is relevant to only half your readers (but possibly 75% of couples), with a birthday from June 2nd to December 1st, and that the income-deferral trick I envision skews to the benefit of the earlier part of that window (i.e., June). But here goes…

Sunday, May 1, 2022 - 13:17

What Should I Do About The Notice I Received From Social Security About My Claim?

I received a letter from Social Security Administration (Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) denying my application for a spousal benefit. I specifically stated my application was for a spousal benefit, not benefits based on my own work record. Regardless, the letter informed me that I could not be paid because I had not worked long enough under Social Security. I only have 27 quarters under Social Security and was fully aware I was not eligible for benefits on my own work record. I stated in the application that I was requesting a spousal benefit.

Thursday, April 21, 2022 - 18:04

Would A Husband Be Limited To Claiming Six Months Of Retroactive Spousal Benefits?

If a spouse has been claiming her retirement benefit for a few years, and the husband just now is claiming his benefit at age 70 and realizes he could have filed a restricted application, is he limited to claiming only six months of retroactive spousal benefits? Or could he protest and get spousal benefits for the full period that his wife has been collecting?

Monday, April 18, 2022 - 18:07
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