Weekend Reading: Beware of Social Security Agents Bearing Lump-Sum Offers

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 waiting to claim Social Security until age 70 and reap maximum benefits, it’s important to know the lump-sum option that could be offered to you beforehand.


Here’s the details: Upon initiating your benefits past full retirement age, Social Security agents can propose a provision that allows you to receive up to six months of retroactive benefits in one lump sum. While this offer sounds enticing, you should first consider its potential implications:

📌 Your following monthly benefits are permanently reduced.

📌 It could push you into a higher tax bracket.

📌 It could increase your Medicare Part B premium two years down the road due to higher income.

📌 The additional monthly income in lieu of the lump sum could help cover Medicare Part B premiums.

📌 Annual COLAs will be applied to a smaller base benefit amount.

You would think more money at the onset is a no-brainer; after all, it is your money. However, make sure you evaluate how all areas of your retirement and income strategy could be affected before making this decision.