Social Security: You Can Stop Working and Delay Your Benefits To Earn More Later
Americans who have reached full retirement age but are not yet age 70 can contact the Social Security Administration and request a delay in retirement benefit payments — something that will result in a higher payment.
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Suspending your benefit payments until later can earn you delayed retirement credits for each month your benefits are suspended, the SSA said on its website. Those credits turn into more money when you start collecting.
If you apply for benefits and the SSA has not yet determined that you are entitled to them, you can still voluntarily suspend benefits for any month you haven’t received a payment.
Before suspending your payments, there are some things you need to know, according to the SSA:
- If you are already entitled to benefits, you can voluntarily suspend retirement benefit payments up to age 70. Your benefits will be suspended beginning the month after you make the request.
- Social Security benefits are paid the month after they are due. For example, if you contact the SSA in June and request that the agency suspend benefits, you will still receive your June benefit payment in July.
- You don’t have to sign your request to suspend benefit payments. You can contact the SSA on the phone or in writing.
- If your benefit payments are suspended, they will automatically start again the month you reach age 70.
- If you change your mind and want the payments to start before age 70, contact the SSA and let it know when you want your benefits reinstated.
- Voluntary suspension begins no earlier than the month after the month of the request. Suspension can’t begin before then, or before:
- Your full retirement age.
- Your month of entitlement to benefits (for initial claims only).
- If you voluntarily suspend your retirement benefit and others also receive benefits on your record, they won’t be able to receive benefits for the same period that your benefits are suspended. However, a divorced spouse will be able to continue receiving benefits.
- If you voluntarily suspend your retirement benefits, any benefits you receive on someone else’s record also will be suspended.
- Your Medicare Part B premiums cannot be deducted from your suspended benefits.
- If you request voluntary suspension, the SSA will only permit benefit reinstatement the month after your request.
In the event you return to work while your payments are suspended, your earnings will count toward your benefit calculation and could increase your future payments even more.
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