According to the Social Security Administration’s Rules and Regulations, individuals who are full retirement age or older when they file for Social Security benefits have the right to request a lump sum payment for as many as six months of retroactive benefits. This strategy, of course, will slightly reduce your benefit amount through life expectancy but is an option. In order to get the full six months, you had to have started your file date six months past full retirement age. If you file three months past full retirement age, you would be entitled to three months retroactive and so on.

This was attractive to many folks that have waited to file for their benefits. It is a quick infusion of cash with a small benefit reduction some people are willing to accept. To many, it’s worth the wait and an attractive option.

Well things have changed. We are hearing reports that these requests are being denied. People are having to justify their need for the additional cash requested in their applications. There should be no such need for additional information – it is their money they have earned and are entitled to request.

If this happens to you, we suggest you contact your local congressman to have your situation reevaluated.

With the closure of the local Social Security field offices earlier this year, things are definitely challenging. In the absence of in-person appointments, benefit applications are being processed online and over the phone. We cannot emphasize enough the need to know what you are entitled to before making that call. Mistakes can be made, benefit options missed, additional income strategies ignored – it is up to you to educate yourself on options available.

Roy and Diane Thompson are both national Social Security advisors, and Roy is a former CPA of more than 40 years. You may contact them at, on their website at or by calling (601) 954-0699.

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