When Can I Request Voluntarily Suspension Of My Benefits?

May 27 2017 - 7:22am

I turned 66 in March, 2017, and began receiving my benefits at that time. I'm still working and I'm considering suspending my benefits so that I can receive the delayed credit when I reach age 70. Since I was already full retirement age when I started collecting, do I stil need to request the suspension within 12 months of receiving my first check, or can I suspend at any time after that? Also, my understanding is that I would need to repay any benefits I receive in the interim. Is that correct, and how much time would I be allowed to repay? In other words, does the entire amount have to be repayed all at once at the time of suspension, or is it due when I turn 70 (how does it work)? Would I receive the full amount of the delayed credit, or is it pro-rated? Thank you for your help!

Hi,

You can request voluntary suspension anytime between now and age 70, but the first month that benefits can be suspended is the month after the month of your request. You can't request retroactive suspension, so there shouldn't be any benefits to repay.

Delayed retirement credits (DRC) increase your benefit rate by 2/3rds of 1% for each month of suspension, or 8% per year. If you reinstate your benefits prior to age 70, DRCs are credited through December of the year prior to the month of reinstatement, so you may not receive immediate credit for all of the DRCs you've earned.

Alternatively, you could withdraw your application within 12 months of your entitlement date (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/withdrawal.html). In that case, you would need to repay all of the benefits you've received in order for your withdrawal request to be approved. You could then reapply for benefits at age 70 and receive the maximum possible 32% increase from DRCs.

You may want to consider using the maximization software available on this website in order to help you determine your best strategy.

Best, Jerry