Is someone required to take Social Security when they turn 70?

Published: July 6, 2021

Full question: Is someone required to take Social Security when they turn 70, or can they decline it/never file a claim for it? Sounds crazy on the surface but the situation is husband and wife are on Medicaid, living on only husband’s income, wife turning 70 soon and if she claims her 500/month retirement benefit that will disqualify the couple for Medicaid. Husband has HIV so drugs are very expensive.


Yes, individuals may decline Social Security benefits by filling out a one page Waiver of Benefit Payment form, SSA-149. Note that the form looks like a photocopy, but it is, in fact, the Official Form that the Social Security office provides. You simply mail or hand deliver it to your local Social Security Office.

The form is required to document the fact that benefits due to you are not being paid, because the beneficiary, (for personal reasons) has requested nonreceipt. Personal reasons can range from religious, patriotic, or political beliefs to situations where continued receipt of payment causes some adverse effect.

This is not an irrevocable election. So, if down the road you may encounter unforeseen circumstances, your Social Security payments can be reinstated.

Best wishes,

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