Is There A Deadline For Advising SSA That You Want To Suspend Your Benefits?

Mar 16 2019 - 9:04pm

Hello, Jerry. Thank you for all the information you provide us, day-in and day-out. It is very much appreciated! I understand that if someone receives SSDI and reaches FRA, their SSDI automatically converts to regular retirement payments. Is there a deadline by which one has to advise SSA that they would like to "suspend" the newly-converted payments in order to receive DRCs? Can someone do this at any time before age 70? If you can only do this before reaching FRA, and cannot do this after reaching FRA, why is there such a "one-time-only" restriction against the disabled, but not for anyone else? Thanks again for all the help and wise advice you provide! Harvey

Hi Harvey,

You can voluntarily suspend your benefit at any time between full retirement age (FRA) and age 70, but you must request the suspension no later than the month prior to the month you want the suspension to start. So, if you want to voluntarily suspend your benefits effective with the earliest possible month in order to gain the maximum amount of delayed retirement credits (DRC), you must make your request to Social Security no later than the month prior to the month you reach FRA.

The voluntary suspension rules are the same for both disabled and non-disabled people. The difference is that people who aren't receiving disability (SSDI) benefits when they reach FRA can file just for spousal benefits only if they were born prior to January 2 1954. That potentially allows them to draw up to 4 years of spousal benefits before filing for their own benefits at age 70. People who are receiving SSDI when they reach FRA don't have that option even if they were born prior to January 2 1954, since their SSDI benefits automatically convert to regular retirement benefits at FRA. And, even if they suspend their benefits they couldn't draw spousal benefits while their own benefits are in suspense (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspendfaq.html).

Best, Jerry