I'll turn 70 in about 4 months. I just got a letter from the SSA saying

What You Should Do: You should contact us right away to apply for your retirement benefits. You need to complete an application ... You can apply at www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline

Is this an attempt by the SSA to trick me into applying early? My thought is I should wait until after turning 70, to get a slightly higher payment.


1 Answer 1


No, they’re not trying to “trick you”. Government bureaucracies don’t do that kind of thing. You won’t get more money if you defer your first payment until after you’re seventy, so they’re making sure you apply in time to get the money you’re entitled to as soon as you are seventy.

  • 15
    Yes. It's simply a matter of it taking a couple of months to do the paperwork. You can specify when you want the payments to start.
    – jamesqf
    Sep 18, 2020 at 16:24
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    Given how often the elderly are targeted for cons and scams, and given that this decision is literally a life's work in the making, I wouldn't be so dismissive of OPs wariness. Apart from the tone, though, excellent answer :)
    – thehole
    Sep 19, 2020 at 4:35
  • 7
    I'm not sure what's so ludicrous about it. It's not like no government agency has ever tried to trick members of the public before. And in any case, government agencies are run by humans, and humans are often corrupt; if they can achieve their goals by tricking the public, they might do that. Sep 19, 2020 at 14:35
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    @HagenvonEitzen But that doesn't mean that government agencies won't be corrupt; it just means that if they are corrupt, then the people will have some ability to improve the situation. Sep 19, 2020 at 18:09
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    Thanks for your many cogent comments. I live in a country where the current government is attempting to disable the postal service to influence mail-in voting. I agree that the USA SSA should be above such shenanigans, but perhaps some wariness is justified.
    – Sullivan
    Sep 19, 2020 at 22:06

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