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Result of Delay in Filing for Benefits

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

1504. Result of Delay in Filing for Benefits

1504.1 What are the advantages of filing an application on time?

It generally works to your advantage to file your application for benefits promptly, even if you are still working. Any delay in filing your application may result:

  1. In fewer payments, since:

    1. Monthly benefits cannot be paid retroactively in some instances; and

    2. Benefits cannot be paid for more than 12 months (depending on the particulars of the situation) before the month you file the application. (See §1513.)

  2. In loss of some months of coverage under the hospital and medical insurance programs.

1504.2 When is it beneficial to delay the filing of your application?

It may be to your advantage to delay filing an application for monthly benefits if:

  1. You have not yet reached FRA and you wish to wait and receive an unreduced benefit at FRA; or

  2. You would lose benefits payable under some other program.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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