TN 127 (07-23)

GN 00204.039 Explaining the Month of Election (MOEL) Options

A. The claimant and the MOEL decision

The MOEL for a claimant is a personal and important decision that determines the amount of benefits they will receive for the rest of their life. There are many different personal factors a claimant considers when making this decision.

We offer a variety of on-line tools and publications to help the public to make the decision of when to file for benefits. For example:

  • my Social Security (mySSA) Retirement Calculator;

  • Publications; and

  • Social Security Statement.

Prior to November 2008, we used the breakeven point comparison to inform the claimant about the total benefits and the time it would take to recover the benefits from an earlier to a later MOEL. However, we discontinued this practice because the computation did not consider the changes in life expectancy, mortality rates, and the personal factors that the claimant should evaluate when making benefit decisions. Technicians should no longer discuss this option with claimants. However, when directing claimants to publications or website information, make sure to inform them about specific resources such as the Life Expectancy calculator and SSA mortality reports which may affect the claimant’s decisions.

B. Explaining the MOEL options

The role of the technician is to review the claimant’s information to determine their eligibility options for benefit decisions. We should not attempt to persuade the claimant about benefit decisions. Instead, we should provide the claimant with Social Security program information based on the following:

  • benefits for which the claimant may be eligible;

  • monthly benefit amount (MBA) for the earliest possible MOEL, at full-retirement age (FRA), age 70, and any other months requested by the claimant;

  • applicability of the MOEL options to the claimant’s situation; and

  • information requested by the claimant.

If the claimant has decided when to begin receiving benefits and they do not wish to obtain further information, the technician should not pursue other options for the claimant.

If the claimant files an Internet claim (iClaim), the technician may need to contact the claimant for clarification purposes to discuss MOEL options. For iClaim procedures, see GN 00204.055K.

IMPORTANT: Every interview must include an explanation to the claimant about the situations (i.e., codes “A” and “B”), where earnings are involved and the MOEL selected is conditional and subject to change through the earnings enforcement process. For more information about material earnings, see GN 00204.040A. For MOEL options codes, see GN 00204.041.

C. Factors that may affect the MOEL decision

Discuss the following information, if applicable, with the claimant to assist them in making an informed decision on when to begin receiving benefits:

  • delayed retirement credits (DRCs), see RS 00615.690;

  • the effects of the Retirement Insurance Benefit limitation (RIB LIM) on auxiliary and survivor benefits (see RS 00615.320) and voluntary suspension (see GN 02409.100);

  • the deemed filing provision, see GN 00204.035;

  • the windfall elimination provision (WEP), see RS 00605.360;

  • government pension offset (GPO), see GN 02608.000;

  • entitlement to other benefits, see GN 00204.022; and

  • the effect of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on title II benefits, see SI 00510.001D.

D. References

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GN 00204.039 - Explaining the Month of Election (MOEL) Options - 07/28/2023
Batch run: 07/28/2023