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Starting Social Security
Old 09-07-2007, 07:23 PM   #1
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Starting Social Security

So I've decided to apply for early SS at 62 1/2. I'm going to call the SS office Monday. In the meantime, I just read that it takes about 3 months to begin receiving checks. If anyone else is receiving SS, I wonder if the first check includes the 3 months it took them to process the paperwork, or if you actually lose 3 months of payments.
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:06 PM   #2
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:10 PM   #3
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I started receiving widow's benefits this year and the first check was only for the amount they stated I would receive .
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:45 PM   #4
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I started receiving widow's benefits this year and the first check was only for the amount they stated I would receive .
I'm sorry to hear you've been recently widowed. How long was it between when you became eligible for widow's benefits and receiving the first check?
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Old 09-07-2007, 11:40 PM   #5
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STR-----When I started receiving SS just about the same age as you, it took a few months to start and I only received one month worth of SS the first month. You don't
really "lose" those other months. Because of the delay, your SS is very slightly higher than it would have been if you had received it immediately and if you live long enough,
you'll catch up and pass what you would have gotten if received immediately. Takes
quite a few yrs to do that though.
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Old 09-08-2007, 07:56 AM   #6
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STR-----When I started receiving SS just about the same age as you, it took a few months to start and I only received one month worth of SS the first month. You don't
really "lose" those other months. Because of the delay, your SS is very slightly higher than it would have been if you had received it immediately and if you live long enough,
you'll catch up and pass what you would have gotten if received immediately. Takes
quite a few yrs to do that though.
Thanks, Kaneohe, that answers my question. As you say, I will catch up eventually if I live long enough but I best be ready to take out a few months from my cash savings until the SS check arrives.
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:13 AM   #7
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I'm sorry to hear you've been recently widowed. How long was it between when you became eligible for widow's benefits and receiving the first check?
Thank you but I'm not recently widowed .I was widowed nine years ago but I just became eligible for benefits .It was one month between becoming eligible and receiving benefits .I did apply three months before .I know several people who applied for regular SS and it took three months to process .First check was only for the amount stated no back payment .
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Old 09-08-2007, 09:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
It was one month between becoming eligible and receiving benefits.
Moemg, that sounds the same as the answer I found in the FAQ's on the SSA website:

Quote:
Question: What month do retirement benefits begin?

Answer: A person who meets all requirements for entitlement can receive reduced benefits beginning with the first full month that he/she is age 62. Thus, benefits are not paid for the month a person reaches age 62 unless his or her birthday is on the first or second day of the month. (Under a common law rule, a person reaches a given age on the day before his or her birthday.)

Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due. For example, if your 62nd birthday is July 15, your first month of entitlement is August, and you would receive your first check in September.
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I did apply three months before. I know several people who applied for regular SS and it took three months to process.
At one of the pension/retirement planning seminars I attended, a SS rep said the she recommended coming into their local office at least 3 months prior to the date you want to start receiving benefits, because the gears turn sloooowly!
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:01 AM   #9
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Thank you but I'm not recently widowed .I was widowed nine years ago but I just became eligible for benefits .It was one month between becoming eligible and receiving benefits .I did apply three months before .I know several people who applied for regular SS and it took three months to process .First check was only for the amount stated no back payment .
OIC, thanks for the clarification. Anyway, the key seems to be to apply at least three months before you want the first check. Once again I'm behind the power curve.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:03 AM   #10
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Thanks, Goonie. That was exactly what I wanted to know and I have it on my calendar to apply in March or April 2009. I will be 62 on June 5th 2009. No one can ever accuse me of not planning ahead. My first month of entitlement will be July and my first s/s check will be August 2009.

I bet there are some of us here who thought we would receive a check the month we turned 62 if we had applied in plenty of time, even if it was a partial check. Since 62 is far enough away, I have not been on the s/s website yet so thanks for the info.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:21 PM   #11
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Thanks, Goonie. That was exactly what I wanted to know and I have it on my calendar to apply in March or April 2009. I will be 62 on June 5th 2009. No one can ever accuse me of not planning ahead.
Once again, I'm glad to be of service to others, as an example of what not to do through poor planning.
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:49 PM   #12
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I would have been just like many others if I had not read this thread. I'm sure I would have applied for s/s in May before my birthday in June and actually might have expected to receive a check almost immediately. I feel silly putting something in my Outlook calendar way out in Feb-Mar of 2009 to remind me to apply (to help ME with my own poor planning skills). I did that in response to this thread so thanks for asking the question. No offense or criticism was intended by my comment. I can often be the queen of poor planning.
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:10 PM   #13
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So I've decided to apply for early SS at 62 1/2.
Go for it...but be sure to save some for me as I plan on waiting until age 66 or 4 more years...until then I'm livin' on pension and taxable savings.
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Old 09-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #14
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No offense or criticism was intended by my comment. I can often be the queen of poor planning.
TG
No offense taken, I was just commenting that I hope I can help someone else avoid a few months without a SS check. There are some financial planning gurus here, but most of us are just learning from each other. Plus, the gurus are only giving their personal opinion, not giving financial advice.
Good luck with your plans
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Old 09-09-2007, 09:10 PM   #15
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This thread certainly helped me so thanks for posting! I just wanted to be sure that I didn't come off as saying "ha ha I can plan better than you can plan". Due to reading this thread I'm clear now regarding when to apply and what to expect. Now if my Outlook calendar won't let me down in Feb 2009, I'll be fine! I'd like to think that I would have gone out to the s/s website to do a thorough read but . . .
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:51 AM   #16
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I just applied online. Pretty simple, but there are several pages of information you need to provide. Once you submit the application electronically, it says what you have to provide by mail. Probably the hardest, if you don't have one on hand, is an original copy of a birth certificate. I had one handy but if not, would have had to write off for it. The rest of the stuff is straightforward, W2s, DD214 is retired military, etc. At the end they ask if you expect income over the next 4 months, so I assume this is the window they give themselves to begin payments.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:10 PM   #17
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I don't have my actual original birth certificate. I have a certified copy of vital records from the state and county all signed and sealed that I received in 2000 when I had to have it for a passport. I hope they will accept that because my original birth certificate was lost long ago.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:51 PM   #18
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I don't have my actual original birth certificate. I have a certified copy of vital records from the state and county all signed and sealed that I received in 2000 when I had to have it for a passport. I hope they will accept that because my original birth certificate was lost long ago.
Just checked my printout, and a certified copy is OK. But it has to be the actual certified copy, not a photocopy. They say they will return it.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:59 PM   #19
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DD214 is retired military
I'd think that everyone with a DD-214 should bring it, whether they served to retirement or not. It's not clear to me that SS properly accounts for all the military wage credits (the program ended in 2002) and I know that at least one DoD data tape in the 1990s wasn't correctly delivered to SS for their wage records.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:16 PM   #20
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I'd think that everyone with a DD-214 should bring it, whether they served to retirement or not. It's not clear to me that SS properly accounts for all the military wage credits (the program ended in 2002) and I know that at least one DoD data tape in the 1990s wasn't correctly delivered to SS for their wage records.
Thanks for that correction, Nords. I was thinking retired military but you're right, anyone who served in the military has a DD214 for their various periods of service, and it all counts for SS. In fact, the online form allows for up to 10 different periods of service. I'd like to meet the person who had all those periods and question their sanity salute them.
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