Three years ago Retire Early outlined a Social Security strategy that effectively allowed you to buy an inflation-adjusted life annuity from the Social Security Administration at a big discount to what a commercial insurer would charge for the same benefit. (See, Where can a 70-year-old buy the least expensive life annuity?, September 2007.) Social Security records show that over a thousand well-to-do retirees who have the $100,000 to $200,000 in ready cash required to pay back their Social Security benefits have taken advantage of this option in the past three years.
In a recent article on the Kiplingers web site, Mary Beth Franklin reports that the Social Security Administration is contemplating a change in the rules.
The proposed rule would limit the filing of a Withdrawal of Application to the 12 month period immediately following your first Social Security check. This would end the Social Security Withdrawal of Application strategy that allows you to claim your Social Security benefit at age 62, save and invest the money, and then payback those benefits eight years later (without adjusting for inflation) at age 70 to get a sizeable increase in your monthly benefit. The Office of Management and Budget would have to approve the proposed rule before it takes effect.
If you are in your late 60's and currently evaluating doing a Withdrawal of Application, it may make sense to decide quickly.
If started to collect your Social Security benefit at age 62 with the plan of doing a Withdrawal of Application at age 70 to reset at a higher benefit, you'll need to reevaluate. If you believe you'll continue in good health and have long-lived genes, it may make sense for you to do a Withdrawal of Application now, before the rules change, and then wait until age 70 to reapply for your benefit.
Links for additional information
Financial Advisor Magazine - Little known rule lets you restart
Social Security 02/29/2008
www.analyzenow.com -- Ask Bud Hebeler when to take Social
Security Benefits? 01/04/2004
Andrew Tobias column of 04/11/2006
Vanguard Group - Social Security: Does it pay to delay?
Morningstar Conversation #55481 -- The "risk" of waiting to
take Social Security 12/18/2006
Morningstar Conversation #45213 -- OT When to take Social
Morningstar Conversation #32377 -- When to take Social Security
Charles Schwab -- When should you take Social Security?
CS Monitor -- When does it pay to take Social Security benefits
CNN Money -- When taking Social Security benefits early is a
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