When are delayed retirement credits applied to a Social Security benefit?

Delayed retirement credits may be paid out at different times depending on the situation.

Individuals can earn delayed retirement credits (DRCs), which increase their Social Security benefit amount, starting in the month they reach full retirement age and ending the month they reach age 70.  The report in the Social Security Timing shows the client's delayed retirement credits in the month of election, however the Social Security Administration only pays DRCs immediately if the individual delays benefits until age 70.

Delayed retirement credits are paid:

  • In January of the year following the year the credits were earned
  • In the month the individual turns age 70
  • In the month of the death of the worker (for widow(er) benefits with DRCs)


Shonda was born February 3, 1954. Her primary insurance amount in 2022 is $2,000. If Shonda files for benefits at age 68, she would have earned 16% in delayed retirement credits  but would only have 15.33% applied at the time of election. The remaining .67% would be applied in January of 2023. The exception to the rule is when Shonda turns 70 all DRCs are applied at the time of election.

In order to simplify the delayed retirement credit application process for clients Social Security Timing applies the delayed retirement credits in the month of election. This allows the client to easily view the delayed retirement credits they have earned with a minimum impact to the overall lifetime family benefit generated by the software.