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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13283
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I started collecting social security at the age of 62.

Customer Question

I started collecting social security at the age of 62. During the recession I decided to go back to work and suspended it. At the age of 66 they started automatically paying me again. They said I had no choice to resume. Is this correct!
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

May I ask how old you are now?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
67
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I apparently did not know how this work and apoligize for the delay to your question. Hope this helps for your answer
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Still waiting for a response!!
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Kathy, thank you for returning - we thought we lost you there, since I'd asked you a question back on 2/18 and you were MIA for 4 days. I was out of the office on Monday, 2/22, but am here today, in and out between meetings.

OK, first, there is no "suspending" prior to age 66. So what probably happened is that you told them you were working and exceeding the earnings limit placed on us when we are not actually old enough to be legally, fully, SS retired. When you do that and give an estimate of earnings to come, they reduce your current payment accordingly - often to zero if you earn enough for that calculated result. But, it is NOT suspended, it is reduced. Then, when you turn your full retirement age (FRA), since you have not suspended (and couldn't til FRA), and because you are no longer subjected to that earnings limit that would reduce your benefit payment, your payments continue as usual, but unreduced because there is no rule requiring reduction. But what you CAN do, if you want to stop taking (and let your own benefit grow to age 70 at 8% per year) is SUSPEND NOW. If you do that before 4/30, it will NOT be a blanket suspension on any dependents taking on your record (if any) - if you do it after 4/30, all suspensions are deemed blanket suspensions. (This won't effect you unless you have a spouse collecting a spousal benefit on your record or a child collecting a child's benefits on your record.)

SO, it was a little disingenuous the ignorant SS worker who said you have no choice but to resume. It is true it continues to pay you whatever is meant to be paid (same as before, it was just reduced to zero), but they could have said, "Hey, you can request suspension now." Good news is that you still can - but you lost a year of suspension opportunity. I wish you'd asked before! But it can still give you a nice boost now, if you can do it.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, Iam happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent"when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure tos tart future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

Your online SS legal resource!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have contacted Social Security and in order for me to withdraw now at the age of 67 and wait until age of 70, I would have to pay back all of what I have received and that would be over $40,000. I was drawing at the age of 62,63 and 66. Live and learn!
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

Hi, so glad you responded back, because you are mixing up apples and oranges.

You indicate that you spoke to SS about "withdrawing" your application. Above (please re read) we speak of Suspending, not withdrawing. W is only allowed within the first 12 months of filing and requires return of moneys since you no longer want them. Suspending, however, can only occur AFTER your FRA AND requires NO repayment. You are NOT withdrawing, you are suspending, voluntarily. That way you don't collect til a later year up to 70 and thereby increase your benefit by 8% per year.

Remember, when you return to SSA, you are asking about suspending, not withdrawing. Yes, live and learn!

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 9 months ago.

I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions. Be sure to start future posts with "To ***** Esq., ONLY" if you want me to specifically answer it.

Sincerely, ***** ***** Joy, Esq.

Your online SS legal resource!