Will My Benefits Increase If I Suspend Them, Or Must I Withdraw My Application?

Jan 31 2017 - 7:00am

My husband turned 66 in September 2016. At my urging he filed for Social Security benefits. We realize it wasn't in our best interests. He suspended his benefits. He just spoke to Social Security. He was told that suspending his benefits and waiting until age 70 will not increase the amount of the benefits. In order to increase the amount of benefits by 8% per year he must withdraw his benefit application and repay all of the benefits he has received. I'm sure that includes the premiums paid to Medicare.
I tried to navigate social security website. Finding info there is a challenge. Even if you find the info it is vague.
My question is:
Will my benefits increase when I suspend them or do I need to withdraw my application for benefits?

Hi,

You husband's benefits will increase based on the number of months that he defers taking benefits between ages 66 & 70. Delayed retirement credits (DRC) are calculated at a rate of 2/3rds of 1% per month, or 8% per year. Had your husband not received any of his benefits prior to age 70, or if he withdraws his application and reapplies at age 70, the increase would be 32% (i.e. 2/3rds of 1% per month times 48 months). If instead your husband suspends his benefits at some point after age 66, his benefit rate will increase but not by the full 32%.

Voluntary suspension of benefits can't begin until the month after the month of the suspension request. So, for example, if your husband does not withdraw his application and instead suspends his benefits starting with March 2017, his benefit rate at age 70 will be 28% higher than his full retirement age rate (i.e. 2/3rds of 1% times 42 months).

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine the best strategy.

Best, Jerry