The most common reason people ask for a Social Security do-over is because they went back to work. Another reason is a change in life circumstances such as divorce, death of a spouse, or possibly a windfall in the form of an unexpected inheritance. You could also want to change your mind if you rushed into electing Social Security benefits, signed up on a whim, or lacked good advice at the time.
Take the example of our clients Jane and Bob. Jane recently turned 65 and had earned a small Social Security benefit working part-time of about $388/month. Bob is five years younger, age 60, and won’t be eligible for Social Security until October of 2022. When Jane retired, she figured that her check was small, so she might as well go ahead and take it. As the primary earner, Bob also has a decision to make – should he delay, letting his benefit grow as big as possible? That may be smart for some people, but since Jane is older, she will be at her FRA when he is first eligible. So if Bob elects his benefit early, he will receive about $1950/month (less than his full benefit), and Jane would be eligible for half of his full benefit, about $1300/month. Jane has only received 3 months of benefits so far, so Hans will be advising her to take the Social Security do-over. Overall, they will receive more money than if Jane continued to receive her own check, even if Bob’s grew to its largest amount.
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