How do I switch from survivor benefits to my own benefits and withhold a percentage for tax purposes?

Published: July 6, 2021

Full question: Currently receiving my late wife’s benefit while deferring mine. Turning 70 in September and would like to turn on my benefit and have SS withhold a percentage for tax purposes. I’ve made several calls to the “closed” SS offices and can not get a straight answer as to how I’m supposed to accomplish this….smh! Help!….and thank you!


You must file an application to switch from survivor benefits on a late spouse’s work record to retirement benefits on your own record. You should apply four months before you want your retirement benefit to start.

You can file the application with a Social Security representative, either by telephone at 800-772-1213 or at your local office. If the latter, call the 800 number to schedule an appointment. This application cannot be made online.

At the time you make this application, you may also ask the SSA to withhold federal taxes from your Social Security benefit.

You will need to fill out a form, which you can download or receive by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-3676 and asking for Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request.

When you complete the form, you will need to select the percentage of your monthly benefit amount you want withheld. You can have 7, 10, 12 or 22 percent of your monthly benefit withheld for taxes. Only these percentages can be withheld. Flat dollar amounts are not accepted. Sign the form and return it to your local Social Security office by mail or in person.

Warm regards,

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