Can I Wait Until Full Retirement Age To Claim My Social Security And Continue Receiving SSI?

Jul 10 2019 - 11:29am

I am receiving $771.00/mo. from SSI and turn 62 on 8/4/19. Social security is saying that I MUST take my retirement benefit now, rather than when I turn 66 and 6 months old. My entitlement letter says my payments are based on disability, not anything resembling 'needs-based'. I want to wait and my question is can I? Can I simply do nothing, and expect my SSI to keep coming as is, or could SocialSecurity automatically change it to the lesser early benefit of $934.00/ mo. as opposed to the $1294.00 I'll receive at 66 1/2 years old? Please respond as soon as this is read, as I am being pressured for the appointment and decision. Thank you, Sincerely, John

Hi John,

No, you can't. If you refuse to file for your Social Security benefits at age 62 your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will stop. SSI is a needs based program that's intended to provide support for individuals who have little or no other means of support and who are disabled, blind or age 65 or older. As a condition for SSI eligibility, an SSI recipient must agree to file for any other type of benefits for which they may be eligible as soon as they can claim those benefits (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0500510001). That includes Social Security benefits.

So, you could wait until your full retirement age (FRA) to claim your Social Security benefits, but your SSI benefits would then stop being paid shortly after you turn age 62. Even if you file for your Social Security benefits at age 62, though, your SSI payments will stop if your Social Security benefit rate is at least $20 higher than your SSI rate. SSI benefits are offset dollar for dollar by at least all but the first $20 of Social Security benefits that a person receives.

Best, Jerry