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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13568
Experience:  22+ years legal exp. - 12+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I need help with my social security issues. I initially

Customer Question

I need help with my social security issues.
I initially applied for social security benefits at age 62 to obtain the reduced benefits. However, at the last minute I decided not to retire and to continue to work until full retirement at age 66. Each year I kept working at age 62 and beyond I was making over $100,000 thus the few checks I did receive at age 62 where returned. The form SSA-1099 from Social Security indicates all checks returned and no benefits paid out at age 62. Accordingly, I have received no benefits from age 62 up to full retirement at age 66.
When I applied to start receiving my benefits at age 66, my benefits were started up again as if I retired at age 62. When I requested and/or informed them that my benefits needs to be recalculated for not receiving any benefits between 62 and 66 the local social security office seemed to be confused. Accordingly, my benefits have not been recalculated and I am still receiving my age 62 benefits.
I need help to getting my proper benefits and now I probably need help to get the benefit underpayments for the months of March, April and any subsequent months that I may be underpaid. The benefit underpayments amount to around $600 monthly. My full retirement age was Feb. 9, 2016.
Next question, if social security is underpaying me by not recalculating my benefits at full retirement age, how many other senior Americans around the U.S. are also being cheating out of their benefits.
Ken Ryals
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.Unfortunately I think someone at SSA did you a great disservice as you should have been told that you should have rescinded your election made at age 62. You can do this only 1 time during your life and you must officially cancel you election within 12 months of your initial election and pay back all your benefits. It sounds like this never occurred and thus there is nothing you can do at this point. You were basically earning too much income and earning your SS benefit and the earned income penalty was making your benefit 0 in the eyes of ssa. You lose $1 for every $2 earned over $15,720. You are thus locked in on your early retirement amount at age 62. SSA should inform all those that are earning significant earned income not to retire early as it will hurt their benefit significantly in many different ways. So to answer your question, there is nothing you can do aND SSA will not change their minds and give your the age 66 benefit anount.Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer if satisfied. There should be smiley faces or numbers from 1-5 to choose from. This extra step will cost you nothing extra and will ensure that I will be compensated for my time by the site.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I attempted to rescind my benefits at age 62 but Social Security says I could not as my ex-wife was receiving benefits for my underage child and she also had to rescind but she did not. Although she did not rescind, the child benefits ceased when my benefits ceased. I can not control what my ex-wife does.However, from everything I read, if I did not receive benefits from age 62 to age 66 from making too much money, it says social security will re-calculate at full retirement age for the withheld benefits.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By the way, all benefits were paid back
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I understand that the benefits were all paid back but if the election was not officially rescinded, there is nothing that can be done. It sounds as though you tried to do that but like you said the child's benefits were not rescinded even though no benefits were paid. Again, this situation is very unfortunate. Also understand that your benefits were not being paid back because of the rescission, they were being paid back because of the earned income penalty. In the eyes of SSA you were receiving your benefit and then it was being eliminated because of the earned income penalty. I know this is not what you want to hear, and I am sorry. I hate to break bad news to my customers. I have a duty to give you correct information as incorrect information will not help your situation. If the rescission was never completed, you are stuck with your benefit at age 62 levels.
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Just checking back in, do you have any further questions?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Social Security Regulations 704.4 that is also aligned with Social Security's own publication "How Work Affects Your Benefits" states otherwise. Much online information is also available that show that once one files for early benefits, but has those benefits withheld by working and earning in excess of the earning limitations, can and apparently must request to have their benefits recalculated at full retirement age. One who files for early benefits, even if they do not rescind their election, can and should have their benefits recalculated at full retirement age if they had payment of benefits withheld due to the earnings limitation - if they should have happened to continue working or gone back to work. It seems that few persons know of this exception to the early filing benefits including personnel at the Social Security offices and they surely do not inform many people of this exception other than to distribute their publication. I am sure this does not happen to many people because most retire early and do not go back to work or they may go back to work but only make a minimum amount thus benefit payments are not withheld.If one files for early benefits at age 62 but then continues to work to full retirement age and all benefits were withheld during that 4 years due to the earnings limitation, can and should request that their benefits be recalculated at full retirement age. It this particular case, the individual would qualify for full unreduced retirement benefits at FRA.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ken, It is true that even if your application was not "withdrawn" in the first 12 months (due to SS screw up), your working and paying back any benefits you were not eligible for due to excess earnings means that EACH month you did not get to keep your benefits, is a reduction month that will be reversed once you turn 66. So I do agree with you. That said, you may want to wait before hiring a lawyer: I think the problem may be fixed when the SSA does its recalculations in batch. My understanding is that often that is done after October of the year following the tax year, but it may be sooner. They don't spell this out for us, like most everything - as they are not subject to deadlines, by and large. BUT, we know that the following facts limit their ability, time wise, to recalclate: 1.they don't know what you made yet for 2015 yet (they get that from IRS but usually far after any tax returns are filed, and then those facts get recalculated I believe in batch). 2. You didn't turn 66 til Feb 2016 - that means 2016 earnings will be implicated as well - so what is not clear is must they wait til 2016 return information is provided them by IRS. 3. Also, NONE of this can be done til after you turn 66 - which you JUST did recently. So even if batch processes are not used, SSA doesn't usually get individual jobs (including perhaps recomputations/recalculations) done, even basic applications processed, much before 3 months after the request. 4. The local office clerk usually does not have that much knowledge/training to understand this, as the job is usually limited in scope (such as intake of applications) -- you may have better luck with a manager, but not by much. As you can see, their processes are not always "individual" so we then must wait for the "batch" process to take place (my word, not the SSA's) and it is my understanding that recalcs of delayed retirement, as well as reversals of reduction due to month by month ineligibility due to excess earnings each month - are very long after - based on IRS receipts which often is over a year lag.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.
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. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it. Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.Your online SS legal resource!