Social Security Payback Option Eliminated

The Social Security Administration just announced that Retirees will no longer be able to pay back benefits already received in exchange for higher Social Security payments going forward.

A little-known provision of Social Security law previously allowed individuals to begin payments at age 62, pay back all the benefits received at age 70 without interest, and then reclaim at a higher rate due to delayed claiming.

Under the new rules, Social Security beneficiaries may withdraw an application for retirement benefits only within 12 months of their first Social Security payment and are limited to one withdrawal per lifetime.

Another way Social Security beneficiaries were previously allowed to boost their checks was by suspending benefits already received retroactively, repaying the amount received, and then getting higher checks going forward. The new rules allow retirees to voluntarily suspend benefits only for months in which they did not receive payments. Beneficiaries may also suspend future payments beginning the month after the request is made.

These changes will be applied only to old-age benefit recipients, not survivor and disability beneficiaries.