Can I Withdraw The Conversion From Disability To Retirement Benefits At FRA?

Apr 12 2017 - 7:15am

I've read your book "Get What's Yours" and i have some questions on how to proceed. have been receiving Social Security Disability benefits for the past 6 years starting at age 60; I will be 66 in June. I went to my Social Security office to withdraw my Social Security benefit before my Disability benefit converts to the Social Security Retirement Benefit in June. So, I filed the form 521 to withdraw. I am doing this because I was married for over 10 years, and I want to start collecting spousal benefits on my ex-husband's work record while I let my own Social Security retirement grow until I reach 70 and switch to my own retirement benefit at that time. The clerk at the social security office told me that I will have to pay back all of the Disability payments that I've received these past 6 years; or my request will be denied because I cannot withdraw from the retirement benefit because I have not yet started to receive it. Please let me know how to go about doing this, I do not want to make any mistakes.

Hi,

Unfortunately, you cannot do what you're proposing because Social Security rewrote their rules to prevent this strategy after the first version of Larry's book was published. The change is included in the updated version of the book, and Larry wrote about this change made by Social Security in the following column: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/social-securitys-christmas-pres....

So, unless you are willing to pay back all of the disability benefits you drew, you will not be able to file a restricted application for divorced spousal benefits at full retirement age. You could potentially receive an excess divorced spousal benefit, but only if 50% of your ex-spouse's full retirement age rate (PIA) is higher than your own PIA. You could also voluntarily suspend your benefits at age 66 and resume them at a 32% higher rate at age 70, but you could not receive benefits on any other record while your own benefits are suspended.

Best, Jerry