Ask Larry

Would It Be Worth It To Suspend My Benefits?

Dear Larry,
Last August, after my sister died one month before turning 65, and never receiving any Social Security benefits, I panicked. I decided to apply for benefits at 64. I would turn 65 in November of 2022. I started receiving SS in February and have so far received $10,000.
My circumstances have changed and am now sharing expenses with a friend who has moved in. I read I could change my mind and cancel my SS but would have to return all of the money, which I’d prefer not to do. I also read I could suspend my SS until I reach 66.9 years of age. Would it be worth it ? I’m not sure how much difference it would make, per month in my Social Security.
Thank you

Hi Bridget. I'm sorry for your loss. You can't voluntarily suspend your benefits at least until you reach your full retirement age (FRA), which if you were born in 1957 is 66 & 6 months. If you suspend your benefits then, your Social Security retirement benefit rate would increase by 2/3rds of 1% for each month that you don't collect benefits between FRA and age 70.

The only way that your benefits could be suspended prior to your FRA that would cause your benefit rate to increase would be if you work and earn too much to be able to collect benefits (

If you started drawing benefits within the last 12 months then you could withdraw your application and reapply later at a higher monthly benefit rate ( However, the only way that you would be allowed to withdraw your application is if you repay in full all of the benefits you've been paid so far. Whether or not that would be "worth it" depends on numerous factors, including your personal philosophy about the future. You may want to consider using our software ( to run some 'what if' scenarios so that you can make an educated decision about the best way to maximize your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Jul 25 2022 - 12:57pm
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