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PDtax
PDtax, CPA firm owner
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 4104
Experience:  35 years tax and professional advice in all matters money
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I started taking social security at age 62 and received 13

Customer Question

I started taking social security at age 62 and received 13 months worth of benefits. I then went back to work making $72,000 a year and stopped my social security. I was told at my local social security office that if I suspended benefits until age 66 that I would then receive increased benefits. I have now been told by different representatives that: (1) my benefits will be the same as when I was 62. (2) That I shouldn't have been allowed to suspend benefits. (3) That I should not have stopped my benefits. I am still working and will turn 66 (full retirement age) in December. I plan on again receiving benefits. What is the correct answer and what will my benefits be?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  PDtax replied 1 year ago.

Hi from Just Answer. I'm PDtax, and can assist.

social Security uses specific terms in cases when the action you might wish to take can be called more than one thing. That is the reason for some of the confusion.

You were entitled to withdraw your social security application within 12 months of receiving benefits, and repaying your benefits. that would have been treated as if you never applied or received benefits (this is available only once). You would then be eligible for higher benefits at full retirement age or at age 70. You didn't do that.

You suspended your benefits, which means that you voluntarily chose not to receive a benefit check until you elect to do so. Again, that option is typically not taken unless you were at full retirement age, to allow for spousal benefits based on your earnings record. That wasn't you either.

Social Security states clearly that you should not be allowed to suspend your benefits until you have reached full retirement age, which was one thing you were told, and I believe correctly.

Expert:  PDtax replied 1 year ago.

https://socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/suspend.html is the SSA web page on the subject, and they are clear that this requires you to be at FRA when you do so.

Since your benefits were suspended, you can request that be be restarted, which I believe you want, at FRA (age 66). I believe this will also allow you to collect all the prior years unpaid benefits (see the same page from SSA).

Expert:  PDtax replied 1 year ago.

The last item, that your benefit amount is fixed at the age 62 amount, is mostly true (but you could request payment of the age 63-66 unpaid benefits to be paid when you go to SSA and apply again). If you choose not to collect retroactive benefits, I believe your monthly benefit will be increased for not only the repaid benefits from age 62 (if you were working), but the unpaid age 63-66 benefits will act to increase your monthly benefit.

One cautionary tale regarding different representatives and their different opinions. Unless you have given a complete review of your fact pattern to each of those representatives, their opinions can't be compared directly. A simple turn of phrase, or omission in what you disclose to the next representative, must use their exact terminology and a complete fact pattern. It's why in my business I drop customers who have shopped opinions. Not that they received bad advice, but I find I spend a lot of time correcting what other people might have opined. And, you are left with not knowing who to believe.

It's best to go to their office, scheduling an appointment, and reviewing your entire case with the same case worker. That way, one person reviews your entire case file and advises.

Thanks for asking your questions at Just Answer. I hope this shed some light on your situation. Positive feedback using our rating scale is appreciated. I'm PDtax.