Can I fix my Social Security mistake?

Photo: JPPI on

 Q. Eight months after my 66th birthday, I read an article about Social Security and spousal benefits. I realized I had made a mistake, thinking I had waived my rights to any Social Security benefits until age 70 due to my personal decision when I also applied for Medicare benefits in timely fashion online. I made an appointment with Social Security and filed the appropriate paperwork, including a request for retroactive payment. I was told six months retroactive was the limitation. Is there any appeal for the two months I won’t receive?

A. We’re sorry to hear you made an error, but we’re glad you realized it before it was too late.

Unfortunately, full retirement age claims may be paid up to six months retroactively.

This means that in order to receive the full six months of retroactive payments, you would need to be at least 66 years and 6 months old, since 66 is the full retirement age for current retirees, said Amanda Lott, a certified financial planner with RegentAtlantic Capital in Morristown.

“There is no additional appeal for the two months that you won’t receive retroactively and this is not an eligible tax deduction,” Lott said.

But if you’re talking about claiming your own retirement benefit — as opposed to a spousal benefit — all is not lost.

Lott said for each month that you’ve delayed taking a benefit beyond your full retirement age, your benefit increases two-thirds of 1 percent. So if your benefit at age 66 would have been $2,000, because you were only paid retroactive benefits as if you had started benefits when you were 66 years and two months old, your monthly benefit will be approximately $2,027 instead of $2,000.

“If you live past your late 70s or early 80s, you’ll actually be better off quantitatively by having a slightly higher monthly benefit due to the deferral months,” Lott said.

But if you’re talking about receiving spousal benefits while delaying your own retirement benefit until age 70, Lott said, you’re out of luck. Spousal benefits do not earn delayed retirement credits if you begin taking them beyond full retirement age.

Learn more about retroactive Social Security benefits from the Social Security web site. Pay special attention to section 1513.1: Can You Be Entitled To Benefits Retroactively?

Email your questions to .

This story was first posted in November 2014. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.