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Reboot Social Security

A change has been made to the Social Security rules which now restricts the possibly valuable SSA-521 technique for "rebooting" your pension to a new 12 month window. See
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Reply to
bo peep
bo peep writes:
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Good catch. I've discussed the ability to pay back and restart SS with a number of people who might have qualified to do it. None of them have done so. The issues involved, often including having to restate and recalculate your income taxes for several years, make it far from a trivial operation.
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Plain Bread alone for e-mail, thanks.  The rest gets trashed.
Reply to
BreadWithSpam
Actually, if you use a product such as Turbotax, restating and recalculating your tax for a previous year is quite easy. (provided you still have the software installed, or that you kept the CD).
Reply to
bo peep
That sounded reasonably fair. You should have a chance to "un-retire" the first year should you have mis-calculated your retirement finances. Most of the other applications seemed arbitraging the system to make extra money for more well-off people. I was considering trying that.
Reply to
rick++
While the once in a lifetime restriction is reasonable I disagree that the 12 month rule is reasonable unless social security is going to start doing a much better job of explaining what options are available when someone applies for benefits.
For example, I had no idea at the time I reached full retirement age that I could apply for spousal benefits under my wife's account and defer applying under my account until age 70. When my wife and I learned this I immediately filed a withdrawal of application but it was 14 months after I started receiving benefits before I discovered that this option existed.
I understand the problem social security is trying to solve but penalizing beneficiaries because they were unable to discover all of the rules and options on their own is not the best solution. Why not simply charge interest on the "loan"?
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 .Bill.
Reply to
Bill
I've read that the SSA-521 technique
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ssa-521.pdf) is so obscure that many Social Security employees have never heard of it, and it is only used by a few hundred people each year.
Reply to
bo peep
I agree that it is obscure but the reason that some Social Security employees are not aware of it is that it is not included in their training. I delt with some that were aware and some that were not. I live in a city of about 700,000 population and IIRC, the agent that processed my 521 said they had 28 in process at that time. If that is correct a few hundred nationally seems low.
The other thing that has changed is that more articles on retirement planning are discussing it as a tool. That is how I found out about the option. I suspect the number of people exercising the option has been growing due to the increased publicity and that is the reason for the new regs.
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 .Bill.
Reply to
Bill
Andy comments: Bill, I am completely in sympathy with your problem. However, it is up to each of us to research the matters, and possibly seek professional advice if necessary, BEFORE certain acts occur....
I've stumbled like that in things, and each time inspired me to do an even better job of planning for the next event. After all, a bell can't be unrung, and many of our laws have built-in deadlines and expiration times...... It is very useful to stay in touch with newsgroups, for instance, to see questions and problems that others are having in order to see things coming down the road at us that we hadn't thought of.... Also, networking with others of our age and just talking about SS, Medicare, taxes, etc will often head off some bad stuff...
Good luck on your future planning. Education doesn't stop at college graduation, or on reaching 65 :>))))))))
Andy in Eureka, Texas
Reply to
AndyS
Your comments about research are right on target when you talk about college graduates. But what about the average American? How are people whose career is fixing cars at the local Honda dealer, working at Walmart, working on the production line at Ford, assembling electronic equipment in a Siemens plant etc supposed to find out about these carefully concealed options. Like most members of congress you have the view that the average person in this country is just like you and the fact that you read and post on this forum proves that is not so.
Viewing the world as a mirror of ourselves is something we all do and it takes concious effort not to do it. However, when considering if a program like social security or medicare that will be used by all Americans you need to be very careful to look at it from the perspective of the full spectrum of people that it will server.
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 .Bill.
Reply to
Bill
Unfortunately, that attitude is sometimes coupled with the belief that anyone not like ourselves don't really deserve more than "our kind of people" who know how to research and find information about important financial matters. Not that anybody around here would hold such an aristocratic view, of course.
Reply to
Don
Sadly many "self made men" have that view. One would think that they would have empathy for those that don't have the wherewithal to lift themselves as high. Thumper
Reply to
Thumper
Yes, that is true. And sometimes those people are not really as "self- made" as they would like to believe. It is possible for success, riches, and fame to come upon people as a result of advantages that are not at first apparent, or even by pure chance, "being in the right place at the right time," etc. Then, it is easy for them to look back and delude themselves into believing that they possess unusual drive, determination, character, whatever, that have brought about their success.
Just as the movements of the stock market can be seen as random and unpredictable, so also are the fortunes of investors and entrepreneurs often, although of course not always, a matter of blind luck. Once those favored few have achieved wealth and success, however it may have come about, they are quick to believe they "deserve it," "have earned it," etc., while the less fortunate people deserve less, because of their laziness or lack of motivation. The ones who fool themselves perhaps are less likely to have empathy for the less fortunate. The ones whose achievements truly reflect their abilities and motivation are more likely to regard the less fortunate with compassion.
Reply to
Don
IMO, the whole thing is way too complicated.
For example: Someone got the idea the add some rules to the HOA; we have to ask permission to place a flower pot visible from the street on *our* property, and *our* drapes must suitably match the house. Not unlike the Federal Government, this is a misuse (or abuse) of delegated responsibility. The correct idea is to further individual freedom, not to enforce a sheep-like compliance with some 'person's' imaginings of what 'everyone's' reality is. The HOA rules reduce property values, not to mention the 'intangible' quality of life (the rules specify submission of a form, together with photos or illustrations, and what it will look like, something only a self- justifying lawyer or an abused child could create - for a potted plant?).
It's a disease.
(I have no idea what this has to do with rebooting social security, but I had to echo your sentiments. "Ordinary" people don't want to bother with these details, and neither do nurses who spend 30%+ of their time on government paperwork instead of caring for their patients.)
Reply to
dapperdobbs

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