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Bumping up your Social Security benefit

There is a little known provision in the social security rules that allow you to return all the payments you have received so far in return for a recalculated new monthly benefit. The money you’d need to return does not include any interest, so if you are 70 years old and had started collecting social security at age 62, you are returning those funds with cheaper dollars. Also, if you had been taxed on any portion of those prior benefits, you may claim the tax as a credit in the year you pay back the accrued payments. After you reimburse the SS office, you reapply for your new benefit. See “Request for withdrawal of application” at IRS.gov or contact your local social security administration office for more details.
For another bloggers advice see Increase Social Security Benefits by The Military Wallet.

  • JAL September 17, 2008, 12:02 am


    This is very interesting and I’m trying to grasp the implications of this.

    If you didn’t need the SSA money starting at 62, took it anyway, carefully invested it, then at 70 repaid the sum back to the SSA… it sounds like you’d be able to keep all the interest and also have a huge monthly SSA payment starting afterwards.

    What’s the catch?

    Have you crunched the numbers on this?

    Best regards,


  • JOE September 17, 2008, 8:28 pm

    In the 62/70 example I had seen, the total sum that would need to be returned is $130,000. At 70 the benefit would increase by $900/month or $10,800/year. This is an 8.3% immediate annuity (with joint survivor) equivalent. Actually more due the tax which is refunded with the tax return in the year following.
    As with a number of strategies I try to bring to light, this may not apply to the majority. It takes a 70 or so year old who took their first SS benefits some time prior and now realizes they are in good health, so expect to pass the break even point on this maneuver, and has the cash to pay back.

  • Social Security Help March 22, 2011, 7:16 pm

    For older Americans in specific, creating the transition towards a low fixed-income lifestyle is extremely tough, but critical to ensure that when and if your career ends suddenly, you’re not hemorrhaging money every month, but are already living frugally and inexpensively.

  • Juan Delgado August 13, 2012, 12:26 pm

    It seems that SSI has caught up with above and now is only valid for one year. read attachment: http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/withdrawal.htm

    “Unexpected changes may occur after you make your decision about when to start your Social Security Retirement benefits.

    If you are receiving Social Security Retirement benefits and you change your mind about when they should start, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply at a future date.

    However, if you change your mind 12 months or more after you became entitled to retirement benefits, you cannot withdraw your application. “

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