Can I Suspend My Benefits If I Return To Work?

Category: 
Dec 10 2016 - 11:00am

I retired at 63. (02/20/2015) to care for my grandson, as we have custody.

My DOB is 12/18/51. My wife (DOB 05/01/57) and I were living off of my retirement and she works part time. After 6 months, I was able to start looking for employment again. This had been a total nightmare. I had to start drawing on social security from 08/2016, as we went through my retirement and had to draw early to pay bills after declaring bankruptcy. My FRA is 66.
I finally started working again full time on 11/28/16 and want to stop my SS and we cannot afford to pay back what I received for 4 months, which is over $9,000.
Question: Can I "suspend" or "put on hold" my SS and just take the reduced amount after I am beyond 66? Will the SS taxes I pay help increase my SS payment, since I am working and do not plan to again retire until 70.
Also, do I have to keep Medicare, since I stopped SS, and go back to private insurance with my wife on Market Place?
I only have a few days left to sign up for Part B Medicare, if I have to stay on Medicare without paying the late enrollment penalty.
Thank you for your help.

Hi,

You aren't allowed to voluntarily suspend your benefits until you reach full retirement age (FRA), but until then the Social Security earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html) may result in your benefits being suspended anyway.

As long as you earn less than $15,720 this year, you can be paid all of your benefits. Next year, the exempt amount of earnings goes up to $44,880 for you, since you will reach FRA in 2017. And, only your earnings from January through November will count toward the limit. If you earn more than the exempt amount next year, Social Security will need to withhold $1 of your benefits for each $3 that you earn in excess of the exempt amount. So, if you think you will earn more than $15,720 this year, or more than $44,880 next year, you should notify Social Security of your expected earnings, and they will take action to withhold the appropriate amount of benefits.

With regard to your Medicare question, the only way that you could sign up for Parts B & D of Medicare after your initial enrollment period at age 65 without paying a higher premium is if you are covered under an employer group health plan based on your own or your spouse's current work. If you won't have that type of health insurance coverage, you will probably want to file for Parts B & D of Medicare now.

Best, Jerry