What is the suspension of Social Security benefits and when do you have to do it?

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You can choose to collect your Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, but the amount you receive will be reduced until you reach full retirement age. The full retirement age varies depending on the year of your birth — it is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954, gradually increases if you were born between 1955 and 1960, and it is 67 if you were born you were born after.

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If you have reached full retirement age and start receiving payments then, you can suspend those benefits until age 70, according to SSA.gov. Why would you do that?

If you suspend your retirement benefits, you will accumulate deferred retirement credits and receive higher benefits at age 70 or whenever you choose to start receiving them. You must start receiving benefits at age 70.

How to Suspend Social Security Retirement Benefits

It is easy to suspend your pension benefits at any time after full retirement age but before age 70. You can call the Social Security office or send a letter asking for the suspension of benefits. It will take a month for the request to take effect, so if you request the suspension of benefits in October, you will receive your October benefits in November but will not receive a payment in December.

You can also make a prior request for the suspension of benefits for a later date. In other words, you can request in May to suspend benefits from December. You cannot request the suspension of benefits until you have reached full retirement age or after the age of 70.

What you need to know about the suspension of benefits

If you choose to suspend your benefits, you should understand that you must still pay your Medicare Part B payments. These payments cannot be deducted from the suspended benefits. Also, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and request a suspension of your retirement benefits, you will not be eligible to receive SSI.

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If other people (except an ex-spouse) are receiving benefits on your file, their benefits will also be suspended.

Why would you want to suspend Social Security benefits?

If you can live the life you want without your Social Security payments, it can earn you more money later if you can afford to put benefits on hold. According to AARP, you will increase your benefits by 2/3 of 1% for each month suspended, or a total of 8% each year you suspend benefits.

You may delay benefits because your other investments are providing enough money to live comfortably. Or, maybe you’ve taken on a part-time or side job that helps fund your retirement. Whatever the reason, this option exists to increase your retirement income at age 70 by suspending benefits before that date.

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