Suspending Social Security Benefits

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By on June 11, 2014 in Q&A, Retirement with 1 Comment

Q: I’m 67 years old and I’ve been receiving benefits since I was 66. I’m working part time and want to suspend these benefits; however the SSA office told me I could have done this before I turned 67, but not now. Could they be incorrect?

A: Yes, they are incorrect. Once you have reached your full retirement age, you are allowed to suspend your benefits at any time (up to age 70). In an earlier response to you, I speculated that the SS employee had confused “withdrawing your application for benefits” with a “voluntary suspension of benefits”. Wanting to be 100% sure of my answer, I checked with Social Security expert Robert White. Mr. White’s response to me is pasted in below.

You are correct. I would guess that this was a communications issue as his inquiry may have covered both suspension and withdrawal. When he re-contacts Social Security instruct him to request a “voluntary suspension of benefits”.

The following reference might also be useful in your response.

POMS GN 02409.110, Conditions for Voluntary Suspension, states the following in section B1: “Voluntary suspension can apply for any month after 1999 beginning with the month FRA is attained and ending with the month before the month age 70 is attained.”

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at [email protected] to discuss schedules and costs.

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.