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Retroactive Benefits

My dad reached full retirement age last year, but decided to continue delaying benefits until the end of this summer. After initially filing his claim in July, he received a call from SSA suggesting that he could receive retroactive benefits to January if he was willing to accept the lower benefit levels he would have gotten in January. He actually thought it was a scam because he had never heard of anything like it, but checked with his local SSA office and found that it was not. For a variety of reasons, he did end up doing it, and he received a lump sum payment worth 8 months in September.

I was confused by all of this because the SSA page for delayed retirement credits specifically says they cannot pay retroactive benefits for more than 6 months. I suppose it is possible that January to June are considered the 6 retroactive months and July and August were not considered retroactive because the claim had already been started.

In short, I am trying to find out a few things: First, how does this fit within SSA's stated rules of only 6 months retroactive? Second, why did they specifically call my dad to suggest this option? Do a lot of beneficiaries get that same kind of call? Thanks in advance to anyone who has any thoughts on this.

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With a few specifics lacking, it's hard to say exactly what transpired here. I suspect your explanation (I suppose it is possible that January to June are considered the 6 retroactive months and July and August were not considered retroactive because the claim had already been started.) is the most likely.

Here are a few links regarding this :

http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/delayret.htm

http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.15/handbook-1513.html

http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-0621.htm

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Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration