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 all months for which you might be due a benefit.

  • If you are already entitled to benefits, you may voluntarily suspend retirement benefit payments up to age 70 beginning with the month after the month when you make 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

  • If you change your mind about receiving Social Security benefits, you may withdraw your Social Security claim only if it has been less than 12 months since you were first entitled to benefits. Your date of entitlement is the month you start your benefits and may not be the same as the date you actually received your first check. If you withdraw your claim, you may re-apply at a future date. To withdraw your claim, you must make a request to withdraw in writing and repay the benefits that you received. For more information, visit our If You Change Your Mind page.

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

Note: Effective April 30, 2016:

  • We will no longer permit suspension of retroactive benefits in situations where you apply for benefits and we have not yet made a determination regarding your entitlement.

  • If you voluntarily suspend your retirement benefit and you have others who receive benefits on your record, they will not be able to receive benefits for the same period that your benefits are suspended. Please note that there is one exception; divorced spouse’s will be able to continue receiving benefits.

  • If you voluntarily suspend your retirement benefit, any benefits you receive on someone else’s record will also be suspended.   Your Part B premiums cannot be deducted from your suspended benefits.

  • If you request voluntary suspension on or after April 30, 2016, we will only permit benefit reinstatement beginning with the month after the month of your request


Before You Make Your Decision

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

These premiums cannot be deducted from your suspended retirement benefits, or your suspended spouse or ex-spouse’s 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.)  

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