Social Security payments


Q: I am 65 with a birthday in July. I plan on retiring next year (FERS), and am considering submitting for my Social Security benefits back to my 66th birthday, in December 2011. I believe that means I will collect my four months of previously earned checks next year, thereby pushing my tax liability for that money into 2012. Am I misreading the Social Security website (it says six months max back payment), or is this possible?

A: What you read on the Social Security Administration website is correct. However, while you are reviewing the tax implications of applying for a benefit at once or delay applying for it, I suggest that you also go to, scroll down to page 15, and read the section headed “a special monthly rule.”


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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