Strange But True: Claim and Suspend Social Security

Alex Golub-SassAlicia H. Munnell Nadia S. Karamcheva

IB#9-11

The brief’s key findings are:

  • During the current economic crisis, many older workers are postponing retirement and some retirees are re-entering the labor force.
  • Re-entrants age 66 and over can put their Social Security benefits “on hold” in exchange for higher benefits later.
  • This “claim and suspend” strategy also offers greater flexibility to one-earner couples, allowing the higher earner to delay benefits while his spouse claims.
  • The potential costs to Social Security are modest.