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The Automatic Recomputation

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

722. The Automatic Recomputation

722.1 When is the automatic recomputation used?

The automatic recomputation is used to recompute the PIA. It is used if a person has wages or self-employment income for any year for any part of which he or she is entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits.

722.2 How is the automatic recomputation determined?

The usual computation formula or the special minimum PIA formula (see §717) is used. If you qualify for either the simplified old-start or the 1990 consolidated methods, and each yields a higher PIA, the appropriate formula (see §707) is used. In effect, any year for which retirement or disability insurance benefits are paid can be a base year in the automatic recomputation of that year's retirement or disability insurance benefits.

722.3 What if a retirement or disability insurance beneficiary dies?

The automatic recomputation credits any earnings in the year that a retirement or disability insurance beneficiary dies. It is the same as above, except that it is effective with the month of death. Therefore, any resulting increase in the PIA is reflected in the amount of all monthly survivors' benefits, beginning with the first month of entitlement to survivors' benefits.

722.4 Can an automatic recomputation decrease your PIA or benefits?

No. A recomputation never decreases your PIA or benefits. However, an automatic recomputation can increase your PIA or benefits if your earnings in the additional base year considered are higher than earnings in the lowest computation year used in your last computation or recomputation.

Last Revised: Sep. 22, 2003


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