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Social Security

Take a Do-Over on Your Social Security Claiming Decisions

Those who regret taking benefits early have a couple options to boost their payouts.


If you claim Social Security benefits early and then change your mind, take heart: In a couple of situations, a do-over is doable.

See Also: Best Strategies to Boost Your Social Security Benefits

Say you file for benefits at age 62, when you first become eligible. Because you're claiming before full retirement age (now 66), you get a 25% lifetime reduction in benefits. A few months later, you realize you don't need the money just yet and want to rescind your early-claiming decision. If you withdraw your application within the first 12 months of filing, you can pay back the benefits, interest-free, and erase the 25% reduction. When you finally do claim benefits, you'll get whatever you're due at that age.

Second scenario: You collected benefits early and have now reached full retirement age. At that point, you can ask Social Security to suspend your benefits until you reach age 70. The beauty of this strategy is that you don't have to pay back the benefits you've already received. But your future benefits start from a lower base, owing to the earlier 25% reduction. You do get the 8%-a-year boost for the time in which you've suspended your benefits, making the idea worthwhile if you can afford to forgo your payments for a few years -- say, because you received a windfall.


To learn more about either strategy, contact your local Social Security office and ask how to withdraw your application or suspend your benefit. Be aware that if you're already enrolled in Medicare Part B, you'll be billed for premiums that would otherwise have been automatically subtracted from your Social Security paycheck.