Ask Terry Questions A Correction to my Column on Social Security

A Correction to my Column on Social Security

By Terry Savage on May 11, 2017 |

There is some confusion about your 5-7 column(san diego union tribune) regarding the decision one makes as to when to start taking social security benefits.You wrote"It's a decision that,once made,cannot be changed".Yet on the same day and in the same newspaper another financial expert,Liz Weston wrote " those who started Social Security early have the option of suspending their benefits at full retirement age to allow them to begin growing again by earning delayed retirement credits.Those who suspend benefits can restart them at any time.Otherwise,suspended benefits will automatically restart at age 70". This sounds like a "change" to me,so who is correct? Thanks,Bill Lane

Terry Says

Liz Weston is correct.  I erred on this one, and take full responsibility.  I was trying to point out how "locked in" you are if you take early benefits at age 62.  There is an opportunity to suspend those benefits -- but only after you reach FRA. At that point, anyone can suspend benefits until age 70.  If you do so, your base benefits will grow at 8 percent a year. Also, if you withdraw your application before FRA (and also within the first year of reaching FRA) within 12 months of taking benefits, and if you repay those benefits, Social Security will "wipe the slate clean" and recalculate benefits at the age you decide to restart the benefit. Those are two huge exceptions.  But it is my experience that once benefits are started, people rely on the check and rarely are willing to either suspend them, or repay benefits as described above, in order to get the larger check.

Recent Questions



a personal
finance question