Question: Could you address the costs and benefits of filing for social security before age 70, and then, using Form 521, repaying the government and re-filing at a higher rate?


It seems to me that is dangerous if you are concerned, as I am, about my spouse's benefits should I die before the pay-back at age 70.





Colorado Springs, CO



Answer:  I see what you mean.  Your spouse could get caught with a much lower death benefit.  That's a very good point.  For those who have already started SS and discover that they can restart it's not much of a problem unless they die between the time they pay back the money are restart SS payments.  I understand that it takes the SSA a couple of months to process the forms and get you going again.


There are some other weak points if you retire early and plan to restart SS later.  For one thing, you must make sure that you've saved enough to be able to pay SSA back.  Another is that you must invest it wisely so that you don't get caught in a severe bear market when you want to make the conversion.  Still another point is that the SSA or IRS could change the rules in the meantime.


This is a much better strategy for someone who has already started SS too early and now wants to rectify the mistake.