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Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

Delayed Retirement Credit

720. Delayed Retirement Credit

720.1 How does the delayed retirement credit affect benefits?

The delayed retirement credit increases your benefit amount if you did not receive benefits for months after you became full retirement age. Delayed retirement credit increases apply for benefits beginning January of the year following the year you reach full retirement age. However, it does not apply to the special minimum PIA, which is explained in §717.

720.2 What is an increment month?

Each month in which you are at least full retirement age, but not yet age 70 (age 72 if you turned age 70 before 1984), is an increment month. An increment month is also any month you are eligible, but did not receive a benefit.

720.3 How do increment months affect the delayed retirement credit?

The delayed retirement credit is based on increment months. They may increase your benefit amount:

  1. If you are a retirement insurance beneficiary and you reach age 65 before 1982, then you receive an increase equal to 1/12 of one percent of the benefit for each increment month;

  2. If you are a retirement insurance beneficiary and you reached age 65 after 1981 and before 1990, then you receive an increase equal to 1/4 of one percent of the benefit for each increment month; or

  3. If you are a retirement insurance beneficiary who reached full retirement age after 1989, then your benefit amount is increased for each increment month at 1/4 of one percent, plus 1/24 of one percent for each even-numbered year from 1990 through 2008 in which you are full retirement age or older. The rates of credit are as shown in the table below.

    Chart of Delayed Retirement Credit Rates.

    If you reached full reitirement age...

    Then your monthly percentage is...and

    Your yearly percentage is...

    Prior to 1982

    1/12 of 1%



    1/4 of 1%



    7/24 of 1%



    1/3 of 1%



    3/8 of 1%



    5/12 of 1%



    11/24 of 1%



    1/2 of 1%



    13/24 of 1%



    7/12 of 1%



    5/8 of 1%


    2008 or later

    2/3 of 1%


  4. If you are a widow(er) of a worker who had received or was eligible for delayed retirement credits, then you are entitled to the same increase that had been applied to the benefit of your deceased spouse or for which the deceased was eligible as of the time of death. A surviving (including divorced) spouse receiving widow(er)'s benefits is also entitled to this increase.

Last Revised: Mar. 3, 2004

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