You signed up for Social Security benefits as soon as you turned 62, but now you're wondering if it was such a smart move after all. Sure, you're enjoying your benefits now, but it could diminish the amount that you receive over your lifetime.

If you decide to change your mind, you can reverse your decision within 12 months. Here's a look at how to do that and why you might want to.

How your age affects your Social Security benefits

When Social Security was created in 1935, it was designed to give adults 65 and older a continuing source of income in retirement. But as funding the program became more challenging, the government moved the goalposts so that your full retirement age (FRA) is now somewhere between 66 and 67, depending on the year you were born.

Mature man looking pensive

Image source: Getty Images.

You're still allowed to begin taking Social Security benefits at 62, but you won't get as much per check. On the other hand, if you delay Social Security benefits past your FRA, you'll get more than your scheduled benefit per check (your benefits max out at age 70). Here's a chart explaining how much you will get at each age, depending on your FRA.

Age

Benefits for FRA of 66

Benefits for FRA of 67

62

75%

70%

63

80%

75%

64

86.7%

80%

65

93.3%

86.7%

66

100%

93.3%

67

108%

100%

68

116%

108%

69

124%

116%

70

132%

124%

Source: Social Security Administration.

If you feel reasonably confident that you're going to live a long life and you're able to get by without drawing upon your Social Security benefits, you're better off waiting to sign up because you'll get more money per check.

How to withdraw your Social Security application

If you have signed up for Social Security and now you regret that decision, you can reverse it if it has been no more than a year since you first claimed. Simply fill out this form and send it to the Social Security Administration. But there's a catch.

To withdraw your Social Security application, you must pay back all the benefits you've received thus far. This includes any benefits paid to qualifying spouses, ex-spouses, or children. All parties receiving benefits based on your work history must consent to the withdrawal in writing. Otherwise, you're not allowed to stop taking benefits. You should also note that you're limited to one such move per lifetime, so think carefully before signing up for Social Security again.

If you choose to withdraw your application and then you change your mind again and want to continue receiving Social Security benefits, you can cancel your withdrawal request within 60 days.

Deciding when to take Social Security is one of the most important decisions you'll make when planning for retirement. If you regret starting benefits early, you may be able to withdraw your application, but you must act before your year is up. Otherwise, you'll have to make do with the benefits you receive.

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