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I was born 12-14-47. I started collecting my SS last May 2012.

I was born 12-14-47....
I was born 12-14-47. I started collecting my SS last May 2012. I visited SS office 2 x prior to applying and called 2x on the phone trying to clarify information. I was still working but was told it didn't matter how much I earned in 2012 prior tol the month I started collecting as they would look at my earnings on a monthly basis from May onward. I knew i made too much each month after April 30, but it varied each month and the way I figured it I owe SS $3183.90 back. I went again to SS office in Feb to tell them I owed money and they told me to go away until i got a letter from SS. I just got my letter and the way SS figures it ( on a yearly basis) I owe them $5499 and SS put my start date as the beginning of the year so it looks like even if I pay this money that my monthly benefit will be less based on an earlier starting date of benefits....Help....Marcia
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Answered in 1 hour by:
9/10/2013
Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13,627
Experience: 22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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Hi, Marcia, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing SS law full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you. With regard to your post:

I was born 12-14-47. I started collecting my SS last May 2012. OK, so on 12/14/2011, you turned 64, right? So in May, 2012, you were about 64 and 1/2 years old. OK, early retirement you were collecting, at a discounted rate.

 

I visited SS office 2 x prior to applying and called 2x on the phone trying to clarify information. It can be confusing, yes, and wraught with misinformation.

 

I was still working but was told it didn't matter how much I earned in 2012 prior tol the month I started collecting as they would look at my earnings on a monthly basis from May onward. OK.


I knew i made too much each month after April 30, but it varied each month and the way I figured it I owe SS $3183.90 back. Were you right?

 

I went again to SS office in Feb to tell them I owed money and they told me to go away until i got a letter from SS. Yes, they are just clerks, not the bean counters.

 

I just got my letter and the way SS figures it ( on a yearly basis) I owe them $5499 and SS put my start date as the beginning of the year so it looks like even if I pay this money that my monthly benefit will be less based on an earlier starting date of benefits....Help....Marcia

 

It is true that so long as you are earning more then what a claimed "retired" person makes, and remain younger than your full retirement age, yes, each month will cause the SS to be reduced or even eliminated. However, it is not actually gone. Those months that you do not get SS, work together to negate some or all taking of "early retirement" and the benefit amount you will be entitled to will be less impacted by any mandatory "discount" due to taking early.

 

Are you trying to determine the method they determine what has to be paid back? Which months?

I look forward to your response to my questions, so I can provide you with more information, so don't feel the need to rate now, til we are done. I will be leaving for a birthday dinner soon, but will catch up with you later to see if you have had a chance to respond. Thanks!



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Hi again Marcia - OK looks like my date is late :) I can get this finished for you.

Here is what I am seeing: you will turn 66 in 12/2013 - that is your full retirement age. Prior to then, you are subject to the earnings test/limit. So:

In 2012:

The earnings limit to be "retired" was $14,640. So for every $2 you earned in 2012 that was over $14,640, (i.e. not retired), your benefits are offset by $1. But, there is a special rule if you START taking mid year: Here is an example offered by the SSA, for illustration purposes (see my italics correlation to you):

"In 201[2], a person under full retirement age for the entire year is considered retired if monthly earnings are $1,220 or less. For example, XXXXX XXXXX retires at age 62 on October 30, 2013. He will make $45,000 through October. This is akin to what you earned between January and May, 2012. Over the limit, but OK because he was NOT collecting SSR.

He takes a part-time job beginning in November earning $500 per month. [And you keep working yourself.] Although his earnings for the year substantially exceed the 2012 annual limit ($14,640), he will receive a Social Security payment for November and December. [And so will you for your months after May, in 2012, IF your earned amount EACH month you are collecting that first year, are below $1220.]This is because his earnings in those months are $1,220 or less, the monthly limit for people younger than full retirement age. If Mr. Smith earns more than $1,220 in either of those months (November or December), he will not receive a benefit for that month." [So for that first year of early retirment, because you started MID YEAR in retirement, you get to use the monthly calculation amount, not the yearly.]

So, from May to December, see if you are OVER $1220/mo. Any month you are, you get no benefit for that month. Any month you are UNDER 1220, even though still earning and even if over the ANNUAL amount, you still get to take your benefit in full.


Beginning in 2013, only the yearly limits will apply to him [and you]. So this year, you need to NOT make more than $ 40,080 (higher amount since you are in your last year before full retirement age) - or if you do, you will owe back $1 for $3.

See here: LINK

Let me know if you have ANY questions! If you use figures for all, and need help, I can likely help you with that.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.

Sincerely,

Alexia Esq.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hi Alexia,


 


So, I was given misinformation by the clerk at SS. Is that a basis for not paying the $5499 but only paying what i believed I would owe approx..$3500?


 


Also, you didn't answer my last 2 questions.....If I were to pay all the social security I received in 2012 would there be any benefit to me? Or is there some way I can shift to my ex husbands ss that would benefit me?


 


Please advise.... Marcia

Hi, good morning Marcia, and thank you for your follow up:

So, I was given misinformation by the clerk at SS. I don't know, since I don't have access to your numbers and you have not shared them here. I can't then do that math. But if you are doing it and finding now that they are asking for the correct amount back, and you are sure that they

 

Is that a basis for not paying the $5499 but only paying what i believed I would owe approx..$3500? Generally, and unfortunately, not. Proving is impossible unless you had a letter from SSA describing incorrectly what will transpire - but generally that is rare. Without that, SSA would likely presume you were told correctly, but misunderstood or mispplied what you heard.


Also, it generally doesn't even matter towards the result: Whenever there is an overpayment, regardless of fault, SSA seeks its money back, since it is really the money of our fellow taxpayers. However, lack of fault on your part, and if you are indigent and payback would be a rather extreme hardship (vs. inconvenient bill), it may help to persuade SSA to 'waive' your obligation to pay it back.



Also, you didn't answer my last 2 questions.....If I were to pay all the social security I received in 2012 would there be any benefit to me? Yes, I did, but please remember to put additional questions in to a new transaction post so we can retain the integrity of this transaction thread related to your original concern.


In any event, sorry the answer was not obvious and kind of 'in the mix'. Here is was:
"Those months that you do not get SS, work together to negate some or all taking of "early retirement" and the benefit amount you will be entitled to will be less impacted by any mandatory "discount" due to taking early." This means that if you pay back 2012 (but you can only pay back in the first year, so they may not let you) it would be like you did NOT get benefits in 2012, which means no permanent discounted benefit rate for the rest of your life. Ideally (kind of) rather than "pay it back" via asking to reverse your application (which again, is only doable within a year, so may not work for you), if you just earn too much, they will force you to pay it back via later withholding, which will work similarly to increase your discounted/reduced rate, getting you closer to the PIA you would have had had you not decided to take it before full retirement age.

 

 

Or is there some way I can shift to my ex husbands ss that would benefit me? Again, you haven't shared your numbers, and I am not an accountant and send all my exact figuring to the accountant, but if you can take your divorced spouse share (which will be less than 50% of his PIA, if you do so before your 66th birthday), you may be able to stop yours. However, they would likely have already checked this for you, because when we claim early retirement benefits, the SSA automatically gives us the LARGEST amount of what we are entitled to. So if your discounted rate on your own record was $1000/mo., and your discounted rate via ex spouse was $1200, you'd get the $1200 but it would be comprised of $1000 from your own record (ergo, still suffering for that early taking) and $200 on his record. You get more, obviously, early retirement penalty.


Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13,627
Experience: 22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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