Can You "UNTAKE" Social Security?

Recently I was talking to a friend, who was lamenting the fact that he had signed up for social security at 62, and THEN read my various articles pleading with you not to do it. Here's a link to the summary of these articles on Or if you prefer, some of the original blogs:

My friend had even come to this conclusion BEFORE I wrote the follow up piece reminding everyone that Medicare is not available until 65 no matter when you sign up for benefits.

Now I am in the process of reading Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life, which paints an exciting picture of second careers and the way our retirement systems ought to change to accommodate them. And if anything, my passion for this topic is growing, at least for those of you who don't meet my generous exceptions.

Which got me to thinking ... Is it possible for my friend to REVERSE his choice? That is, is it possible to UNTAKE social security benefits? Or is it possible for YOU, whatever your reasons, to do the same? So I did some research, first at the social security website, and then via Google, and I found this very interesting article at, which states:
"If you decide to take benefits early, you can change your mind, too. Suppose that a year from now, someone offers you a $9.9 million-a-year job. Just notify your friendly SSA rep, who can arrange to temporarily suspend your benefits. When you either leave the job or reach full retirement age, the number of months during which you didn't collect benefits will be added onto your base, and your payments will be adjusted upward."

So the answer is "Yes"! At least to the extent of payments you haven't received yet. And I'll bet it's one of the lesser known provisions about social security benefits. After all, how often in life have you had the chance to "Undo" certain financial decisions you've made... Or am I the only one who ever wished life had an "undo" key?

... So if you'll excuse me, I need to go email my friend. :-) Bob


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