The most common reason you might want to suspend your benefits is to collect delayed retirement credits. 

If you previously filed for retirement benefits and have reached full retirement age, but are not yet age 70, you can ask Social Security to suspend your retirement benefit payments. By doing this, you will earn delayed retirement credits for each month your benefits are suspended which will result in a higher benefit payment to you when you reinstate your benefit. 

If your benefit payments are suspended, they will automatically start again the month you reach age 70. If you change your mind and want the payments to start before age 70, just tell SSA when you want your benefits reinstated.

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. However, a divorced spouse will be able to continue receiving benefits.

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

There is one more much less common case where you may want to file and then suspend. MaxiFi's maximization report will find this special case for you if it applies. Essentially, you can receive a free partial month benefit with no permanent reduction in your benefit! To learn more about this special case where MaxiFi might be suggesting that you file and then suspend see: Why does the software show one spouse claiming before their FRA and suspending soon after?

Learn more from SSA about suspending your benefits.

Please note:

  • The old “file and suspend” loophole is closed. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 removed the option for those born in 1954 or later to file a restricted application and receive a spousal benefit at full retirement age, while letting their own retirement benefit grow. Anyone born on 1/1/1954 or before is now already 70.

  • Filing and suspending is not the same as a restricted application. Learn more about restricted applications.  

  • Filing and suspending is not the same as withdrawing your application. Learn more about withdrawing a benefit application.