Is There Any Reason I Shouldn't Take The Social Security Back Pay I've Been Offered?

Category: 
May 3 2019 - 3:30pm

I am 70 May 2019. Have delayed benefits until now and still working. Met SS in person was offered $21,936 one time check but would reset my benefit back 6 mos. and be $114/mo. less. Also they stated they could go back another 3 months from when I made my appointment. The 9 month reset is less $209/month but I get a one time check for $32,040. (Break even 12yrs).
QUESTION: Is there any reason to not take the $32,000 check ??? Why is this offered ?

Hi,

The argument against opting for the retroactive lump sum payment is that it will cause you to receive a lower monthly benefit rate for as long as you live. And, if you're married and you die before your wife, her maximum widow's rate on your record would also be lower if you choose to accept the lump sum.

That said, you are free to accept the back pay and the resulting lower monthly benefit rate if you so choose. The reason that it's being offered to you as an option is because you're permitted to claim benefits retroactively for up to 6 months prior to your month of filing if you apply for benefits after reaching full retirement age (FRA). And, when you make an appointment with Social Security to apply for benefits, that establishes a protective filing date for you. So, in your case one of your options would be to elect to receive benefits for up to 6 months prior to the month of your protective filing date.

Before deciding, you may want to fully compare your options using our software. You may also be interested in reading Larry's thoughts on this subject by reading the following column that he wrote: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/beware-taking-retroactive-benefits.

Best, Jerry