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Social Security: Can You Change Your Mind and Get More Benefits?

Deciding when to take Social Security is hard, and many times, people make choices they later regret. Is there a way to change your mind in order to boost your Social Security benefits?

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Charlie, who notes that he and his wife started collecting benefits before full retirement age and want to know if there are any strategies to consider to boost benefits. Dan notes that you can't completely change your mind by withdrawing your Social Security application unless you do so within the first 12 months you get benefits. But he suggests looking into suspending benefits when they reach full retirement age, which might allow one or both spouses to earn delayed retirement credits. Dan warns, though, that those delayed credits only apply if you're claiming benefits based on your own work history, and that spousal benefits aren't eligible. Dan concludes that the price you pay for suspending benefits is not getting any payments for a while, but with the expectation of getting bigger benefit checks when you do start taking benefits again.

How to get even more income during retirement
Social Security plays a key role in your financial security, but it's not the only way to boost your retirement income. In our brand-new free report, our retirement experts give their insight on a simple strategy to take advantage of a little-known IRS rule that can help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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