TN 46 (12-23)

RS 00615.690 Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC)


DRC statutory provisions are in Section 202(w) of the Social Security Act. Regulatory rules are in

A. Delayed Retirement Credit (DRC) definitions and eligibility

1. DRC

A DRC is an increase in the monthly benefit amount due a retirement beneficiary or their widow(er) for each month beginning with full retirement age (FRA) that a benefit is due but not paid.

The DRC provisions allow a credit for any month for which a number holder (NH):

  • is at least FRA,

  • is insured and eligible for retirement benefits, and

  • did not receive retirement benefits.

2. Increment months

An increment month is any month beginning with the month of FRA and ending with the month before attainment of age 70 (age 72 prior to 1984) for which the NH is due a retirement benefit but does not receive the benefit as they did not file an application for benefits or voluntarily suspended entitlement to the benefit. Only benefits due and not paid can count as increment months. If a retirement insurance benefits’ (RIB) beneficiary is in full or partial benefit adjustment to recover a prior overpayment, the month of adjustment does not qualify as an increment month.

NOTE: Months of incarceration cannot be counted as increment months.

3. Voluntary Suspension of benefits to earn DRCs (VOLDRC)

Since 01/2000, a NH can only earn DRCs for months beginning with the month of FRA before filing an application for retirement insurance benefits (RIB) or for months of voluntary suspension (VOLDRC). For procedures on VOLDRCs, see GN 02409.100 through GN 02409.120.

4. Deceased worker's DRCs

Use a deceased worker's DRCs to increase benefits to their widow(er). See RS 00615.702 for more information about widow(er)’s DRCs.

5. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) claims

Grant a widow(er) DRCs for months the NH was FRA but not entitled to RIB, even if the NH received an annuity from RRB (including LAF E cases). The RRB annuity does not preclude DRCs for the widow(er). For more information about widow(er)’s DRCs see RS 00615.702.

6. Totalization claims

DRCs also apply to totalization claims. For instructions on what months to consider for DRCs in totalization claims see GN 01701.240.

7. Effective dates of changes in DRCs

The following are effective dates of changes in DRCs:

  • The first implementation of DRCs was in January 1971. At that time, NHs earned DRCs if they were age 65 (FRA at that time) but were not eligible to receive benefits due to work deductions. Work deductions resulted from the application of the annual earnings test (AET) or the foreign work test (FWT). We did not credit DRCs for months of partial work deductions.

  • Effective January 1973, DRCs only applied if the NH never received a reduced retirement benefit.

  • As of June 1978, a deceased NH’s DRCs could be used to increase the widow(er)’s benefit.

  • As of January 1979, a NH could earn DRCs even if they had received a reduced retirement benefit before age 65.

  • Before 1984, DRCs were earned up to the month before the month of attainment of age 72 as the work tests applied up to age 72.

  • Effective with 1984, the work test ended at age 70, so the granting of DRCs ended at age 70.

  • As of January 2000, the work test no longer applies to individuals who have attained FRA. At that point, the Social Security Administration (SSA) implemented voluntary suspension of benefits so that a NH could still earn DRCs. Additional information on voluntary suspensions is located in GN 02409.000.

B. When benefits are increased because of increment months

DRC increases are effective:

  • in January of the year following the year the increment months were earned;

  • in the month of attainment of age 70; or

  • in the month of death of the NH, for widow(er)s benefits with DRCs.

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RS 00615.690 - Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC) - 12/06/2023
Batch run: 12/06/2023