Social Security: How Suspending Your Benefits Can Pay Off in the Long Run

Making the right decision about when to take Social Security can be hard, and many people regret taking benefits early. But what can you do if you've made a mistake?

In this installment of our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Wayne, who asks what happens if he stops Social Security benefits with the intention of going back to work and taking them at a later time. Dan notes that it used to be that you could essentially reverse an early retirement decision by paying back all the benefits you had received, but now, that provision is limited to those who so elect within 12 months of taking benefits. But Dan points out that you can still suspend your benefits, and although you don't get the full benefit of later retirement, you can boost your future benefits without having to repay any benefits that you've already received.

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Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

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