Ask Larry

Can I Suspend My Benefits Rather Than Withdrawing Them?

I started to draw social security in May of 2022, $1160.00 to take care of my husband. My husband then died last month, Sept of 2022, married 22 years. Instead of withdrawing my SS, having to payback SS and Medicare, can I suspend it? I was thinking that if I can suspend, rather then withdrawal mine and take it at age 70 and now draw widows payments $1310.00, at 66, full widow's retirement age, this would be the deal for me. (And if not...why?) The last I looked before drawing my SS at 70 would be $1640.00. (I also do not plan on working full time, perhaps PT in the future.)

Hi. I'm sorry for your loss. You could suspend your benefits between your full retirement age (FRA) and age 70, but you can't suspend your own benefits and draw widow's benefits instead. The reason is that the Social Security law doesn't permit you to so (

The only way that you could draw widow's benefits now and wait until age 70 to collect your own benefits is by withdrawing your prior application, and that would require you to repay all of the benefits you've received based on that application. Based on the amounts cited in your question, it sounds like that would likely be your best option, but I understand that it may not be feasible if you don't have the funds to repay the benefits you've received.

Your optimal filing strategy depends on your current age and your retirement benefit rate, as well as your husband's benefit rate and the age at which he started drawing his benefits. You may want to strongly consider using our software ( to fully analyze all of your options so that you can determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Oct 26 2022 - 1:03pm
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