Ask Larry

Why Is It A Mystery To Find Out When Some Delayed Retirement Credits Will Be Received?

I understand from your previous answers that:
1) Delayed SS credits accrued this year are not paid until January of next year.
2) This is calculated only every other year, so there can be a 12+ month wait.
3) No one knows what years the calculations occur.

If delayed credits are in fact calculated every other year, it seems this would imply a schedule.. Were they calculated last year? If yes, then they will not this year. If not calculated last year then they will this year. So why is it a mystery? Is there really no way to know what year delayed credits will be applied? How did this every other year calculation come to be, and why?


Hi. To clarify what you're referencing, if a person starts drawing Social Security retirement benefits effective with any month other than January that is after the month they reached full retirement age (FRA) and before the month they reach age 70, Social Security initially only gives them credit for any delayed retirement credits (DRC) that they earned through December of the year prior to the year that started collecting. Any DRCs earned in the year that such a person started drawing are subsequently credited effective with their payment for January of the year after the year they claimed benefits.

However, there is a substantial delay before Social Security actually processes the benefit recalculations to include such additional DRCs. I don't know for sure how often Social Security recalculates delayed retirement credits (DRC) to include partial year DRCs. I do know that the process is automated, but Social Security does not publish a schedule. Nor do make the systems manual (SM) section of their online operations manual (POMS) available to the public online as they do with the rest of POMS.

What I can tell you based on experience and from feedback I've received from others is that the automated recalculations to include partial year DRCs typically don't happen until roughly 21 months after the end of the year in which the DRCs were earned. In other words, a person eligible for partial year DRCs for months in 2021 would likely not actually see the resulting benefit rate increase until roughly the fall of 2023. However, the person would receive back pay for such an increase retroactive to their benefit rate starting January 2022.

For example, if Tom files for benefits effective with April 2021 when he reaches age 68, he would initially be credited with the DRCs he earned through December 2020. Tom would then be due an increase in his benefit rate effective January 2022 to include the additional 3 DRCs he earned for not drawing benefits for January through March 2021. But, Tom likely wouldn't actually receive that increase, along with any back pay due, until roughly the fall of 2023.

You may want to strongly consider using our software ( to fully explore all of you options so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Jun 19 2022 - 12:06pm
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