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Social Security: Re-starting SS at 70 y.o.?
Old 03-26-2010, 10:07 AM   #1
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Social Security: Re-starting SS at 70 y.o.?

Awhile ago there was great discussion about paying back the collected SS funds a couple months before 70 and re-starting your SS benefits. I just returned from the SS office this morning; and, when I asked if and when this will come into effect, nobody seemed to have any knowledge of this. In fact, the gals there at the desk--who deal with questions like this every day--say they haven't heard a thing about it and seemed shocked.
I asked how would I even know if the law was changed regarding paying back and re-starting at 70 being no longer allowed, and I was told it would be on the socialsecurity.gov website.
However, they, also, said that--even IF it became law--it would take a good year to go into effect. So, for now, I am at the "What? Me worry?" stage--unless someone on this board has better information than I got...other than the guy at the corner gas and grocery telling them.

Here's the link to Social Security:
Social Security Online - The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:11 AM   #2
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Orchid, I'm not surprised the folks at the local SS office gave you a blank look. There was a thread a while back that linked some source saying very few people had actually done the "payback/do over" at age 70. Not something a SS clerk might ever run across.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:32 AM   #3
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Orchid, I'm not surprised the folks at the local SS office gave you a blank look. There was a thread a while back that linked some source saying very few people had actually done the "payback/do over" at age 70. Not something a SS clerk might ever run across.
This is always something to consider. What if you had to battle with SS to get it done when you are age 70? Sounds like a huge hassle that (to me) might not be worth it.

But then, others have managed to pay back without any problems at all.

There are some aspects of SS, like this one, that remind me of gambling at the roulette wheel in a casino. Should I put my money on "take it at 62", "take it at 66", "take it at 70", or "take it at 62 and repay at 70"? Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows...
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:42 AM   #4
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Agree w/REWahoo. This forum represents a small minority of those taking SS. The people on this forum considering the SS payback are probably a small minority of the forum. The ones that actually do it are probably a small minority of those who ever considered it. So I would not expect it to even be on the radar screen of anyone in an SS office.

The thing that is unique about this, and makes it a bit different from theW2R casino analogy, is that it gives you a 'second chance'. If it didn't work out for you, pay it back and you get a 'do-over' on your decision. If it did work out, keep it.

Try that at the roulette wheel, and you will find yourself being escorted by a couple of mean-looking guys with no sense of humor!

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Old 03-26-2010, 10:54 AM   #5
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The thing that is unique about this, and makes it a bit different from theW2R casino analogy, is that it gives you a 'second chance'. If it didn't work out for you, pay it back and you get a 'do-over' on your decision. If it did work out, keep it.

Try that at the roulette wheel, and you will find yourself being escorted by a couple of mean-looking guys with no sense of humor!
Maybe you are the one needing a "do-over" this morning, after re-reading my post that you thought you were responding to?
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:20 PM   #6
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Maybe you are the one needing a "do-over" this morning, after re-reading my post that you thought you were responding to?


Re-read it, even had another cup of coffee, and lunch, and I don't see where I would want to take a 'do-over' to my post?

It seems to me, the power of this 'buy-back' option is the ability to make a decision and get a 'do-over' option later. Those are rare in life. And they don't happen at the roulette wheel (hey, I bet on odd, but even came up - do-over! nope, can't do that!). So that's why I don't see how your casino analogy applies. I can see applying that to the straight "take it at 62", "take it at 66", "take it at 70" decision w/o any buy back option, but that was not the topic of the OP.

I hope you are not taking this as confrontational, I'm just trying to get info to the OP and any readers. They will make their own choice, including the choice to not even consider it, but I for one am glad that someone brought up the 'do-over' option in this forum, and I will take it into consideration when the time comes.

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Old 03-26-2010, 12:33 PM   #7
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When you consider the size of the re-pay (max is about 2200/mo so about 132,000) and you'd be getting roughly 800 more per month so you'd need to live at least 14 or 15 years (depending on the cost of money) to get a payback. I'm not that confident in the government or my health.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:43 PM   #8
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Orchid: your post sounds like you asked them when this would become available. It is not something new that will be available in the future. It is an existing feature of SS - you can "reapply" at any time (not just when you approach 70). Look through the earlier threads and you will find the form number of the re-application.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:44 PM   #9
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When you consider the size of the re-pay (max is about 2200/mo so about 132,000) and you'd be getting roughly 800 more per month so you'd need to live at least 14 or 15 years (depending on the cost of money) to get a payback. I'm not that confident in the government or my health.
And if the higher payout kicks you into a higher tax bracket or results in more of your SS payment being taxable, it may make it even worse.

Still, it's a nice option to have if you're in a position to run the numbers at 70, gauge your health and tax situation, and have the choice.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:06 PM   #10
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One of the articles I've read concerning when to start collecting SS mentioned that local offices would commonly be unaware of the provision and you'll need to get in touch with someone "upstairs." They also mentioned that it would take SS several months to start your new, higher checks after you pay back so you'd need to be prepared to go without for a few months. I'll post the link if I can find it later......
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:09 PM   #11
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It seems to me, the power of this 'buy-back' option is the ability to make a decision and get a 'do-over' option later.
Exactly.

I've started my SS (at 62) and if certain circumstances play out I may pay back and restart. But I won't know for several years and it will depend on whether I and/or DW are still alive and our health and outlook regarding longevity at that time in the future.

It's not a matter of starting SS at 62 and already knowing you'll pay back and restart. It's a matter of starting SS at 62, banking the money conservatively and determing whether to pay back or not several years down the road when you know your health status as a 66 - 70 yr old.

I have no idea what I'll wind up doing. Time will tell. I'm just leaving the door open by collecting now and managing my finances so that pay back is possible if that path looks opportunistic 4 - 8 yrs from now.

It sure would be nice if, at 66 to 70 yrs old, I'm so darn healthy I want to buy an annuity (which paying back SS amounts to).
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:27 PM   #12
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One exercise I did to try to understand the "when to start" question is as follows:

Used the downloadable calculator to estimate each of our SS benefits starting at 62, 63, 64 ... 70. For the two of us this gives 81 different combinations of start years. DW is subject to the WEP, hence the requirement for the calculator.

Plugged all 81 different combinations into FireCalc. Yep, 81 runs. On the Investigate tab I set FireCalc to report the spending level that could be supported. The rest of the data is kinda static, but our current numbers.

The spending levels varied only by a couple of percentage points. Turns out that for our cases, the earliest we hit the maximum was each starting at 66. We are different ages, but I did not bother with any of the exotic plans like spousal benefits or stopping and restarting.

Haven't tried to analyze whatever tax implications might apply.

May have concluded it doesn't make too much difference, just looking at the numbers and assuming we'll live to >70.
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Old 03-26-2010, 02:51 PM   #13
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Orchid, I'm not surprised the folks at the local SS office gave you a blank look. There was a thread a while back that linked some source saying very few people had actually done the "payback/do over" at age 70. Not something a SS clerk might ever run across.
OAG over at BH's did the "exercise". He had a lot of problems in the repayment, and even getting correct tax forms after he paid everything back at age 70.

According to an article I read last year (unreferenced) only a few hundred of the many millions receiving SS did this option, so I understand why it would be unknown to most SS office folks.

I'm not doing the option, but just take advantage of getting SS early (by a spousal claim at age 66) and then file as normal at age 70. I'll still be ahead of the game compared to most...
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:28 PM   #14
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I'm not doing the option, but just take advantage of getting SS early (by a spousal claim at age 66) and then file as normal at age 70. I'll still be ahead of the game compared to most...
Assuming you don't get hit by a truck RV bus in the interim.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:41 PM   #15
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Assuming you don't get hit by a truck RV bus in the interim.
Yep.... And that's why I went ahead and started mine. DW is ineligible to collect survivor benefits from mine (GPO) and her own is near zero (WEP), so as some longevity protection for her, I'm collecting and banking. If I toss in my cards early, she'd at least have that. OTOH, if I'm "Mr Healthy" at 66 - 70, I'll consider the annuity equivalent of repaying SS. But we'll see...... Leaving the doors open here......

If you can afford to wait, the whole point of starting early seems to be the advantage of knowing what your health is 4 - 8 years beyond 62 and then deciding whether to re-do or not.

To tell ya the truth, I'm not looking forward to making that decision. It's likely not to be clearcut.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:45 PM   #16
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Assuming you don't get hit by a truck RV bus in the interim.
Well, if you get hit by a bus between ages 62 and 70, you're pretty much out of luck anyway, right? Can't take it with you. Sure, you never got to spend the money but you'll never know that.

Of course (being single) I have no idea what impact that might have on spousal SS checks after you are gone. But either way, you're dead and buried which is not my idea of a really great way to spend one's later years.

Wow, this post is ridiculously gloomy!! Sorry 'bout that.
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:52 PM   #17
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Well, if you get hit by a bus between ages 62 and 70, you're pretty much out of luck anyway, right?

Of course (being single) I have no idea what impact that might have..
Single or not, the impact would be messy, very messy...
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:56 PM   #18
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Single or not, the impact would be messy, very messy...
Wow, that is even more gloomy and ghoulish than my post! Just be sure to hose off the streets...
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Old 03-26-2010, 04:06 PM   #19
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Yep.... And that's why I went ahead and started mine. DW is ineligible to collect survivor benefits from mine (GPO) and her own is near zero (WEP), so as some longevity protection for her, I'm collecting and banking. If I toss in my cards early, she'd at least have that. OTOH, if I'm "Mr Healthy" at 66 - 70, I'll consider the annuity equivalent of repaying SS. But we'll see...... Leaving the doors open here......

If you can afford to wait, the whole point of starting early seems to be the advantage of knowing what your health is 4 - 8 years beyond 62 and then deciding whether to re-do or not.

To tell ya the truth, I'm not looking forward to making that decision. It's likely not to be clearcut.
This is exactly what DW and I will do when she turns 62 (our situation is reversed). It is not likely that we will need/want the "annuity" at 70 but who knows.
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Old 03-26-2010, 05:21 PM   #20
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OAG over at BH's did the "exercise". He had a lot of problems in the repayment, and even getting correct tax forms after he paid everything back at age 70.
Could you provide a link to this?

IIRC, OAG (assuming it's the same OAG) did a payback and restart at age 67-68. He posted extensively about it when he was here at this forum. I don't recall him mentioning any serious problems. In fact, I thought he said it was pretty straightforward.
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