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Ask the Expert: Different rules for RMDs, Social Security benefits

I know that now people don't have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) until age 72. Do we get an additional 8% a year in Social Security if we delay our benefit until 72?

A nice thought, but no.

As you say, the age at which everyone must begin taking taxable annual distributions from their tax-deferred retirement accounts has been changed from 70½ to 72.

But that has nothing to do with Social Security.

When you postpone taking Social Security past your full retirement age, your monthly benefit increases 8% a year for up to four years of delay. This bonus is called a delayed retirement credit, or DRI. But DRIs can only be earned until you turn 70. That hasn't changed.

My 2019 income was higher than my 2020 income because in 2019, I took RMDs and this year, I didn't. I know that my 2019 income will determine whether I pay a surcharge on my 2021 Medicare premium. Can I appeal a 2021 Medicare surcharge because of "loss or reduction of certain kinds of pension income"?

That's going to depend on your 2021 income.

Every year, whether or not you owe a Medicare premium surcharge depends on the income you declared on your tax return two years earlier. If your income has fallen since that return was filed, you can appeal to have a surcharge removed. The loss or reduction of certain kinds of pension income is potential grounds for such an appeal. But a 2021 appeal would have to show that your 2021 income is lower than your 2019 income. Your 2020 income would be irrelevant.

The bottom line

You may qualify for a waiver of a current Medicare premium surcharge if your current income is smaller than your income two years ago.

More information

nwsdy.li/SSAMedicarePremiums

http://nwsdy.li/SSAMedicareHigherIncome

TO ASK THE EXPERT Send questions to act2@newsday.com. Include your name, address and phone numbers. Questions can be answered only in this column. Advice is offered as general guidance. Check with your own consultants for your specific needs.

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