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Old 06-23-2015, 12:39 PM   #21
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We should never forget that SSA laws, IRA laws and tax laws can always be changed. The feds are not looking put for us, they have other agendas.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:38 PM   #22
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The link you included doesn't address the issue I raised. My point was not in defense of the SSA - if I wanted to do that I would have written that the SSA payment stream is age neutral, the employees have no interest in changing the value of the payment stream, and if there really was an institutional bias against deferring the start date it would probably apply to all cases beginning at FRA and not just people at age 70. After all, from that view, age 68 is just as bad. It might also be that the applicant indicated a lump sum was needed for some emergency and the SSA was offering one alternative.

We have no way of knowing, but accepting the existence of this at face value from someone who benefits financially from the confusion it generates seems a little premature.
Sorry, the link was not meant to support the SSA. The link was meant to show that Kotlikoff was not the only one to find SSA reps trying to impose the 6 month retroactive lump sum/4% reduction in monthly payout on 70 year olds, and thereby bolster the case against SSA with other 'victims' of the practice. There were several other examples, I just linked to one...

If indeed the retroactive 6 month lump sum/4% reduction in monthly payout is the default for those over FRA, IMO SSA should be completely up front about it. I did spend some time searching SSA POMS but could not find any such reference, but there were several cases where it appears they did order lump sums for applicants that never asked for it.

I certainly hope I am proven wrong in this instance, the retroactive lump sum should be on request, not the default IMO.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:08 PM   #23
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SS can be a bit insidious. I got tangled up in this, which I related in a thread a year or so ago:

Social Security, Treasury target taxpayers for their parents’ decades-old debts - The Washington Post


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When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.
Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:58 PM   #24
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Here is a section of POMS that describes what the claims representative is supposed to do, https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0200204039. It shows a reference to MOE election codes and the claims representative is supposed to use a MOE option code of D. If the MOE of D is used, then social security does not go back to see if any retroactive benefits are due because of earnings or lack of them.

Some SSA workers look for shortcuts due to lack of time. They do not explain regulations the way they should and can look quite good in the eyes of management for being able to do a high number of claims quite quickly. They try to brush away the claimants questions or ignore them and move them along. There are some workers that have no business being there period. There is one worker who was promoted at my local office and I would never have her take any loved one's claim. She is a nice person, but I don't know what they were thinking when they promoted her.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:03 PM   #25
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I've never experienced or heard of an SSA Claims Rep force 6 months of retroactivity on someone. There very well may be a combination of click bait "news" and misunderstandings.

When explaining options there are many times where people assume they'll get a six month retroactive payment and their age 70 amount.

I can imagine that a good 70-80% of the people walk out of the social security office after filing for benefits and have close to no idea what just happened.


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Old 06-23-2015, 11:51 PM   #26
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We decided to take ours now (64), so it doesn't apply for us. However, I went to the SSA office yesterday to hand in a form and it was a horrible place. The person you ask questions of had her desk roped off ten feet around like a crime scene. So you had to talk to her by shouting your business to her due to the noise in the lobby from the 50+ people waiting. She wanted me to give her my name and social security number, but I didn't want to shout it out. I saw a drop slot for forms and took our forms over to it and dropped them in. I hope they get them. It is an awful place!


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Old 06-24-2015, 07:34 AM   #27
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I can imagine that a good 70-80% of the people walk out of the social security office after filing for benefits and have close to no idea what just happened.
A poster on another Board I frequent swears that his mother went to the SS office at age 62, while she was still employed, and didn't realize she got signed up to start collecting. It all got taxed away, of course, because she still had wage income. (He said she's pretty clueless about finances.)

DH has visited the local SS office and has been very happy with them. I've also found them easy to deal with in fighting off the IRMA (extra premium on DH's Medicare B) after I retired and they were basing the adjustment on the years when I had wages.
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Old 06-24-2015, 12:11 PM   #28
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I see Michael's point, but there is no harm taking care when one finally files for benefits. Most people have very simple situations, but SS can be incredibly arcane and Byzantine.

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Old 06-24-2015, 12:19 PM   #29
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We decided to take ours now (64), so it doesn't apply for us. However, I went to the SSA office yesterday to hand in a form and it was a horrible place. The person you ask questions of had her desk roped off ten feet around like a crime scene. So you had to talk to her by shouting your business to her due to the noise in the lobby from the 50+ people waiting. She wanted me to give her my name and social security number, but I didn't want to shout it out. I saw a drop slot for forms and took our forms over to it and dropped them in. I hope they get them. It is an awful place!


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Never go to an inner city SS office. Although I live within a mile of downtown, and the downtown SS office, I did and always will do all by business at an office north of the Seattle City limits. Not only are the clerks better (not good, just better) but the lobby is not full of pacing druggies or crazies.

Ha
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Old 06-25-2015, 08:31 AM   #30
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Ally, you better check that you are registered the way you want.

Ha, our little office in BH resembles a mineature Seattle bus station. I don't know where the normal people are.

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Old 06-25-2015, 03:00 PM   #31
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Never go to an inner city SS office. Although I live within a mile of downtown, and the downtown SS office, I did and always will do all by business at an office north of the Seattle City limits. Not only are the clerks better (not good, just better) but the lobby is not full of pacing druggies or crazies.

Ha

This was not an inner city office. In my job, I worked in areas that might be called that, but this is a brand new office in a growing suburban area. They obviously wanted to separate themselves from their customers though. It looked like such a depressing place.

And Ed, we are definitely approved. I was taking the form to them to have some taxes taken out so I wouldn't have to pay taxes quarterly. If they lose it, then it's no real problem. I guess we will do quarterly reports then.


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Old 06-26-2015, 08:07 AM   #32
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Do online applications avoid this scenario?

-gauss
Using the on-line system (where possible) is good advice for any dealings with the SSA. Unfortunately the on-line systems has limitations. I'm in the "process" of dealing with them on an issue over the phone (a month now) and I'm convinced that SSA employees are rejects that couldn't make it working for the TSA.

My local office is about 80 miles away but I may have to drive over there and spend a day to get this issue resolved. (am dreading that)
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:52 AM   #33
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Online apps are all processed by living human beings, and there's a tremendous backlog, so no joy there.


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Old 06-26-2015, 06:40 PM   #34
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Online apps are all processed by living human beings, and there's a tremendous backlog, so no joy there.


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When I signed up for SS a couple of years ago, I used the on-line system and it worked perfectly (human intervention or not) It took less than 15 mins and only one attempt. The checks started to come in right on schedule and for the correct amount. (I was amazed at how well it all seemed to work) Even the "My Social Security" website seems to be run pretty well. Everything was going just fine until I needed to do something that the online system couldn't handle. I'm sure it will all work out "someday", I'm just not sure when and how many calls and SSA office trips I'll need to make.

To me it's a little like ordering a Big Mac at McDonald's. Everything is "usually" ok and fast, if you order it "as is" on the menu. If you want to hold, add or change anything , good luck.
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Old 06-26-2015, 09:00 PM   #35
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When I signed up for SS a couple of years ago, I used the on-line system and it worked perfectly (human intervention or not) It took less than 15 mins and only one attempt. The checks started to come in right on schedule and for the correct amount. (I was amazed at how well it all seemed to work) Even the "My Social Security" website seems to be run pretty well. Everything was going just fine until I needed to do something that the online system couldn't handle. I'm sure it will all work out "someday", I'm just not sure when and how many calls and SSA office trips I'll need to make.

To me it's a little like ordering a Big Mac at McDonald's. Everything is "usually" ok and fast, if you order it "as is" on the menu. If you want to hold, add or change anything , good luck.
I tried adding myself for spousal benefits to my wife's personal benefits online when I reached FRA, but for whatever I did, SS gave me my FRA benefits (larger than hers) & my wife spousal benefits on me. Still not sure who's fault that was - me misunderstanding & filing incorrectly or someone at SS not understanding what we wanted.

Regardless, we had to make a couple trips to local SS office (suburban) to get them to turn it around correctly. We fortunately had a knowledgeable, understanding contact who kept telling me I was still owed more back payments when I was already satisfied. She phoned me 3-4x telling me her interactions with an office in AL. Besides the initial adjustments, I got 3 dribbles totaling nearly $2K that weren't completed till 18 months after I first filed online. But in the end, it worked.
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