Weekend Reading: 3 Social Security Do-Over Options

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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Weekend Reading

If you’re having second thoughts about your Social Security claiming strategy, the good news is, “do-over” options exist.


Whether you claimed your benefits early and want to hold out for a larger check, or waited too long to claim and want to recoup the loss, past podcast guest, Mary Beth Franklin, discusses some ways to determine your next move.

Withdrawing your benefits, option 1: In the event you claim your benefits early, but decide you’d rather wait, you can withdraw your Social Security benefits application once, then reapply again later. However, the catch here is that you must repay any benefits received, including those that were collected on your earnings record.

Withdrawing your benefits, option 2: If paying back your benefits isn’t possible, you can also wait until you reach full retirement age or later, and suspend your benefits. The upside is that you don’t have to repay the money, and during your suspension, you earn delayed retirement credits. The downside is that your monthly benefits stop completely, as well as any benefits for dependent family members.

A lump-sum payout, option 3: In the event you waited to claim your benefits, but want to see if you can make up for lost payouts, you can request a lump-sum payout of up to six months of retroactive benefits. With this option, you must be full retirement age or older to make the request, and the retroactive benefits cannot be received before full retirement age.

Bottom line: You do have options. Never discount a Social Security analysis, whether you have already filed for benefits or not.