Am I Allowed To Suspend My Retirement Benefits If I Started Drawing Prior To My Full Retirement Age?

Mar 27 2019 - 3:46pm

I have a 2 part question. I was born 1952 (currently 67) and started taking social security at age 65, per your maximization strategy analysis. Spouse (currently 71) collected on my spousal benefit until his age 70 and then switched to his own benefit. I'm in good health and have just taken a part-time nursing job. I don't need my social security and would like to "voluntarily suspend my benefit" to accumulate "delayed credits". I have called Social Security 3 times and they tell me I can't suspend because I started taking benefits before age 66 but your book says I can? I'd also like to know if I can suspend and collect a spousal benefit until age 70 and then switch to my benefit because I turned 62 prior to Jan 2, 2016. It seems there is an exception to the new "deeming" rules if born before 1954. Please clarify. Thanks for your books, software analysis and great advice.

Hi,

I'll preface by explaining that I answer questions submitted via this forum, but I don't have access to our software customer's data. Therefore, you may want to use the software to make sure that suspending your benefits would be advisable.

That said, you absolutely have a right to suspend your retirement benefits between full retirement age (FRA) and age 70, regardless of when you started drawing benefits. Apparently, a lot of Social Security employees don't understand that fact, so you may need to direct them to the examples in section A.1 of the following reference (GN 02409.110) from their operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0202409110. You may need to be persistent in submitting your request for voluntary suspension, and I would suggest using a form SSA-795 (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-795.pdf) to submit your request in writing. Also, note that you cannot suspend your benefits any sooner than effective with the month after the month you request the suspension, so a delay in submitting your request could cause you to lose some potential delayed retirement credits.

However, you could not draw spousal benefits while your own benefits are suspended. The reason that your husband was able to draw spousal benefits was because he had not yet filed for his own retirement benefits. You have filed for your retirement benefits, so you can't file a restricted application for just spousal benefits only nor can you be paid spousal benefits while your own retirement benefits are voluntarily suspended.

Best, Jerry