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Can I Suspend My Social Security Retirement Benefits Without Having To Pay Back Past SSDI Benefits?

For the past 4 years I have been receiving social security disability payments. Effective this month (Dec 2022) my account changed from disability to full retirement status. Am I able to suspend my full social security benefits in order to earn delayed retirement credits without having to pay back my past SSDI benefits?

The local and federal social security admin offices have told me that I do not qualify to suspend benefits because of my former SSDI benefits. Yet I read the Social Security POMS GN 02409.110 Conditions for Voluntary Suspension which state "Entitlement to DIB prior to RIB does not preclude the ability to request voluntary suspension." It doesn't mention reimbursing past SSDI benefits.

Thank you.

Hi. Yes, you absolutely can suspend your retirement benefits anytime from when you reach your full retirement age (FRA) until you reach age 70. However, voluntary suspension requests must be made no later than the month prior to the month you want the suspension to begin. So, if you request voluntary suspension this month (i.e. December 2022), the earliest that your benefits can be suspended is effective with your benefit payment for January 2023.

Collecting Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits prior to FRA does not bar you from requesting voluntary suspension once you reach FRA, nor would a voluntary suspension request require you to repay any of the SSDI benefits you collected. If a Social Security employee tells you otherwise, they are wrong. You may need to point out to them example 3 in section A.1. of the program operations manual (POMS) reference you cite in your question. If you want to request benefit suspension and if you're unsuccessful in getting Social Security to honor your oral request, I would suggest submitting your request in writing on a form SSA-795 ( in order to create a paper trail.

Best, Jerry

Dec 13 2022 - 7:46am
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