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Client Profile

Brian began receiving Social Security benefits when he first became eligible at his full retirement age, 66. Ten months later, he inherited a large sum of money and wonders if he can stop benefits until age 70 to build his monthly benefit.

He can voluntarily suspend retirement benefit payments up to age 70, when they will restart automatically, beginning the following month after the month when he makes the request. Anyone who has reached full retirement age and is not yet age 70 can do this. Brian can request the suspension either orally or in writing.

Since Brian has received Social Security benefits for less than 12 months, he has a second option for a voluntary suspension. He can request to withdraw his Social Security claim and reapply at a future date. If approved, Brian will have to repay all the benefits he and his family received from when he first began receiving them.

If Brian changes his mind and wants the payments to start before age 70, he only has to notify the Social Security Administration orally or in writing that he wants his benefits reinstated. The request may also include benefits for any months when payments were suspended.

A couple of caveats: If you voluntarily suspend retirement benefits and 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. There’s one exception: a divorced spouse can continue receiving benefits if you suspend. Also note that if you had Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from your Social Security benefit, they cannot be deducted from a suspended benefit.

Client Profile is based on a hypothetical situation. The solutions we discuss may or may not be appropriate for you.

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