Ask Larry

Is There Any Downside To Starting Benefits At Age 62, Then Suspending Them At FRA?

Hi Larry, I understand I can file for social security at 62, then suspend it at FRA without paying back the amount I collected between 62 - 67 and then restart it any time between 67 - 70 and still collect the higher amount at 70 if I restart at 70 . This claim, suspend and restarts acts as if I had delayed collecting social security at 70. Besides collecting the lower amount from 62-67, and losing 3 years of payments while my benefit is suspended,, is there any other downside I should consider using the claim, suspend and restart strategy? Thanks!

Hi. Yes, the potential downside is that your permanent monthly benefit rate will be lower for each month that you collect benefits prior to age 70. It sounds like you may be misunderstanding how the benefit calculation works if you start drawing benefits, suspend them, and then restart them later. The bottom line is that you won't receive your full age 70 rate if you collect any benefits between ages 62 & 70.

For example, say Bill's primary insurance amount (PIA) is $2000, and his full retirement age (FRA) is age 67. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at FRA. For each month that Bill doesn't collect benefits between FRA and age 70, his benefit rate would increase by 2/3rds of 1% due to delayed retirement credits (DRC). So, if Bill waits until age 70 to start drawing his benefits, his benefit rate would then be $2480 (i.e. $2000 x 1.24).

However, let's say Bill instead starts drawing his benefits at age 62. His reduced monthly rate would then be $1400 (i.e. 70% of his PIA). If Bill later suspends his benefits from his FRA until age 70 he'd accrue DRCs, which would raise his rate by 24%. But, that 24% increase would be applied to his reduced rate of $1400, not his PIA of $2000. Therefore, in this scenario when Bill restarts his benefits at age 70 his benefit rate would be $1736 (i.e. $1400 x 1.24).

Your best filing strategy depends on many different variables, so 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

Mar 6 2022 - 10:19am
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