File and Suspend
If you are at your full retirement age (FRA), you can continue to work and suspend your benefit so your current spouse can collect a spouse’s benefit and you and earn delayed retirement credits (DRCs) which increase your Social Security benefit. The voluntary suspension is only for the months beginning after the month the request is made. A current spouse cannot claim a benefit on the worker’s record until the worker has applied.
Claim Spouse’s Benefit Now and Worker’s Benefit Later
If you are married and attained FRA, you can claim a spouse’s benefit and then switch to a benefit based on your own work record at a later date. This allows a person to collect a spouse’s benefit noise while earning DRCs up to age 70 on their own work record. People that are younger than FRA are not allowed to do this.
For example, a husband and wife are both at FRA, age 66, and have covered Social Security earnings. The husband’s monthly benefit is $1,400 and the wife’s monthly benefit is $1,000. The husband files for benefits. The wife can now claim a spouse’s benefit of $700 (50% of her husband’s benefit) and continue working and contributing towards her own Social Security benefit. At age 70 she files for her own retirement benefit that has earned DRCs and is $1,320 a month. Her spouse’s benefit stops and her higher retirement benefit amount starts.
If you are already receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you can start your benefit over within 12 months of the first month of entitlement and limited to one withdrawal. This allows you to receive a higher monthly benefit. You can file a “Request for Withdrawal of Application,” or Social Security Form 521, and your benefits stop immediately when you file. The SSA will tell you how much you are required to pay back including any family members that received benefits based on your work record. After repayment, you can reapply for benefits. The advantage of doing this is that your monthly benefit amount will be higher based on your current age and the SSA does not charge interest on the repayment.