Social Security Do-Over at Risk

Time may be running out on your chance to get bigger retirement benefits.

A little-known strategy that allows Social Security recipients to boost their income may soon disappear. Now, if you repay benefits you received in earlier years, you're eligible for a do-over -- and can claim a bigger monthly check based on your older age. If you or someone you know might benefit from the payback strategy, now's the time to consider it -- before the government eliminates the opportunity.

Retirees may collect Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but their monthly payments are reduced by 25% compared with what they would have received at the normal retirement age, which is 66 for those who claim benefits this year. If you're willing to wait past age 66, you can boost your benefits by 8% for every year you delay up to age 70, increasing annual benefits to 132% of their base amount.

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Mary Beth Franklin
Former Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance