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My husband signed up for SS retirement benefits yesterday, and the CSR was puzzled about why he wanted to start 4 months after retirement and tried to persuade us to do it retroactively to last December, when he retired. "That's $6,000 you're leaving on the table!" But it's also another $40/month for life. If I did the math correctly, pay back in 12.5 years when the hubster is 78 [6000/(40x12)].

Oy. That should be 3 months, not 4, after retirement, and break-even at 76.

There's another wrinkle. When I mentioned that he had to retire, and why, she all but insisted on his applying for disability benefits as well as as retirement. There are two kinds of disaiblity, one for poor people for which he doesn't qualify. After asking us a few questions, she did all the work of applying. It's hard to qualify for this kind of disability benefit, so I doubt it will happen, but it would be a good deal--he'd get the benefit he would've gotten at full retirement age (66) and it would be retroactive to January, an additional $300/month. It can take months for this decision to be made, and meanwhile he'll be collecting his retirement benefit starting next month.

Although I know SS comes as a result of decades of work and SS contributions, there's something almost magical about this much money landing in our bank account from outside our financial institutions every month ;-)

I want us to collect SS sooner rather than later as I do not trust this Congress not to change the SS benefit calculation for the worse for people who are not yet collecting. Also, I will not be receiving 50% of DH's benefit because I earned 75% of his benefit on my own work record. Even if he gets his FRA amount through this disability deal, I still do better against my own record than 50% of his. However, after one of us dies, the survivor will collect his larger amount. Many factors to balance out. Still, it's interesting to me to see the answers to my poll: half of us chose to start collecting Social Secuity at or before age 62.

I didn't have the heart to tell our CSR that come next winter, I'll consider rebooting our SS benefits after a year, weighing the cost against that 8% increase--and a guess at our longevity.
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