Ask Larry

How Can I Earn Delayed Retirement Credits Until Age 70?

Hi. How can I earn delayed retirement credits until aged 70? I want to receive my widow's/survivor's benefit on my deceased husband's record ($1642.)* from now (at my FRA) until I am 70.

I reached my FRA 2 days ago, and my Disability (SSDI) Benefit from my own work record ($2494.) turned into my Retirement Benefit automatically.

I read somewhere that it is not allowed to stop or suspend Disability in order to file for another type of benefit. Why, I don't know. I'm seeking a workaround.

If I continue to receive my own Retirement Benefit ($2494.) for several months, would I then be allowed to stop it, and apply for my widow's/ survivor's benefit instead?

What actual steps should I take with the Social Security Administration (in what order, with what timing, please)?

Or would you recommend a different strategy?

*My dear husband filed for Social Security Retirement benefits on his own work record at age 70. (That was in 1998. He was born in 1928. He died on the last day of 2021.) When he died, his benefit was $1642.

Thank you so much.

Hi Susan. I'm sorry for your loss. You can voluntarily suspend your Social Security retirement benefits until age 70 in order to earn delayed retirement credits (DRC) (, but you can't be paid widow's benefits while your own benefits are suspended (

The only way that you could collect widow's benefits and delay collecting your own benefits until age 70 would be to withdraw your claim for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits. That would require you to repay all of the SSDI and Social Security retirement benefits you've collected up to now. Depending on how long you collected SSDI benefits, withdrawing your claim and repaying the benefits may not be an wise strategy.

If you do decide to suspend your retirement benefits, the earliest that you could do so is the month after the month you submit your request to Social Security. Therefore, if you request suspension of your benefits in February 2023, for example, then March 2023 is the first month your benefits could be suspended. You can make your request for suspension either orally or in writing, but I would opt for submitting a written request so that there will be a paper trail. You can use a form SSA-795 for that purpose (

Best, Jerry

Feb 2 2023 - 5:36pm
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.