If you have reached full retirement age, but are not yet age 70, you can ask us to suspend retirement benefit payments. 

  • If you apply for benefits and we have not yet made a determination that you are entitled, you may voluntarily suspend benefits for any month for which you have not received a payment. Your request to suspend benefits may include any retroactive benefits that might be due.

  • If you and your current spouse are full retirement age, one of you can apply for retirement benefits now and have the payments suspended, while the other applies only for spouse's benefits. This strategy allows both of you to delay receiving retirement benefits on your own records so you can get delayed retirement credits.

    Note: If you want to do this, only one of you can apply for retirement benefits and have the payments suspended.

  • If you are already entitled to benefits, you may voluntarily suspend current or future retirement benefit payments up to age 70 beginning the month after the month when you made the request.

    Reminder: We pay Social Security benefits the month after they are due. If you contact us in June and request that we suspend benefits, you will still receive your June benefit payment in July.

You do not have to sign your request to suspend benefit payments. You may ask us orally or in writing. 

If your benefit payments are suspended, they will start automatically the month you reach age 70.

If you change your mind and want the payments to start before age 70, just tell us when you want your benefits reinstated (orally or in writing). Your request may include benefits for any months when your payments were suspended. 

Note: If you started receiving Social Security benefits less than 12 months ago and you changed your mind about when they should start, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim and re-apply at a future date.

If your request is approved, you must repay all the benefits you and your family received based on your retirement application.

Before You Make Your Decision

There are some things you need to know about what will happen if you suspend your retirement benefits.

  • If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B (Supplementary Medical Insurance), you will be billed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for future Part B premiums.

    These premiums cannot be deducted from your suspended retirement benefits. If you do not pay the premiums timely, you may lose your Part B Medicare coverage. (You will have the option of automatically paying the bill from an account at your bank or financial institution.)

    Exception: If you also receive benefits as a spouse or ex-spouse, we can deduct your Part B premium from that benefit payment.

  • If you also receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, suspending your retirement benefits will make you ineligible for SSI.

Contact Us

Our representatives can help you explore your options. Give us a call at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local Social Security office if you have any additional questions.