Can I Start And Stop My Benefits Any Time?

Category: 
Nov 2 2017 - 8:57am

Larry,

I am originally from Nebraska, however have lived in California for a number of years. I was born in 1949. I have estimated my monthly SS benefit to be about $2500. I have read your information online and I value your input in response to my questions.

Can I start my SS benefit now and order it stopped anytime? ...can I then start it up again at anytime? What if creditors have tapped into my benefits?....can I still stop it and start again at anytime?

I have visited six different Social Security offices and been given six different estimates for my benefit. What is the best way to shop to get the highest amount? How do you lock it in?

How much Basic Payments can I take or get? 6 months? 12 months? Are there any restrictions on starting, stopping that? Can I stop and start that any time, even with back payments?

I have a private pension amounting to $1100 per month. Can I start receiving that benefit, stop it and start it again, at anytime? ….when I begin receiving this, is my ex entitled to receive any of it?

For a number of my adult years, I have lived and worked in California. I have an ex-spouse; we have been divorced since 2009. The divorce decree states that alimony is set at $6000 per month. From 2004-2008, my annual income was $200,000-$300,000. Since 2011, I have earned $0-$30,000, the last year or so it’s been little, $10,000. The amount for alimony needs to be adjusted because I have almost no income. My ex makes $20,000-$40,000. She has never asked for the alimony, but I believe she will try to take up to 65% of my social security benefit. I have a divorce paralegal looking at this, and the National Court Ordered Garnishment System (COGS). If you can give me your input or suggestions on this situation, I would greatly appreciate it.

I love your work, direction in what you do! Thanks for your thoughts and answers to my questions! It’s worth a lot to me, so give me your “best shot” on what you have seen and heard!

Thanks a million!
William

Hi William,

Yes, you can start and stop your benefits any number of times between full retirement age (FRA) and age 70. The only condition is that you couldn't suspend your benefits until the month after your request, and couldn't reinstate it until the month after your request (https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/4261/What-are-the-ne...).

Regardless of the different estimates you've received, your actual benefit rate calculation should be the same no matter where you file. There is likely no need to shop around.

Your FRA rate (PIA) will be calculated using the normal method (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf) unless you receive a pension based on work where your earnings were exempt from Social Security taxes. In that case, your benefit will be calculated using an less generous alternative formula (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/wep.html). Once your PIA is calculated, you would then receive additional delayed retirement credits (DRC) for any months that you did not receive benefits between FRA and age 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html).

Social Security benefits can be garnished to pay alimony. I have no particular insight to offer about that, but you may want to peruse the information on Social Security's website: https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3731/Can-my-Social-S....

If you haven't already done so, you should strongly consider using the maximization software or one of the other package options available on this website to help you with your planning. Please refer to the purchase page for more information.

Best, Jerry