Can I Suspend My Retirement Benefits At FRA To Earn DRCs But Still Receive Surivivor Benefits?

Jun 27 2019 - 9:35am

As per your previous response (6/19/19) a person who previously received Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits can earn delayed retirement credits (DRC) between full retirement age (FRA) and age 70 by voluntarily suspending their benefits. My situation is the same, except I am also entitled to survivor Social Security benefit. Can I I suspend my retirement benefits at FRA (to earn DRC) after being on SSDI, but still be entitled to receive survivor social security from FRA to age 70 and then switch to my own retirement benefit with DRC after 70?

Hi,

No, you can't. Since April 30 2016, if you suspend your Social Security retirement benefits you can't be paid any other type of Social Security benefits while your own benefits are suspended (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspendfaq.html). Furthermore, if you're currently receiving survivor benefits in addition to your Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, then any increase in your retirement benefit rate that results from earning delayed retirement credits (DRC) would offset your survivor benefits dollar for dollar.

For example, say Jane receives a monthly SSDI benefit of $1000 and an additional survivor benefit of $500. If Jane suspends her benefits when her SSDI coverts to regular retirement benefits at her full retirement age (FRA) of 66 and resumes drawing them at age 70, her monthly retirement benefit rate would increase to $1320 (i.e. 32% higher than her FRA rate). But, Jane would not receive either her retirement or survivor benefits during the 4 years from FRA until age 70. And, Jane's monthly survivor rate would then go down to $180 when her retirement rate increases to $1320, leaving her with the same $1500 total monthly benefit rate that she started out with. In other words, in this example Jane would be giving up 4 years of benefits for no resulting increase in her combined benefit rate.

It sounds like suspending your retirement benefits at FRA is unlikely to be an advantageous option in your case, but you may want to consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to be sure.

Best, Jerry