Those who opt to begin receiving Social Security benefits before full retirement age can cancel the benefits within 12 months of initiating them, but they must pay back any benefits they have already received. Those of full retirement age but younger than 70 can suspend their benefits without penalty.
If someone younger than full retirement age initiates Social Security benefits and then changes his mind, he must fill out Form SSA-521, Request for Withdrawal of Application, stating the reason for the withdrawal. Anyone receiving benefits based on the applicant's work record must also agree to the withdrawal. After the Social Security Administration receives and processes the request for withdrawal, it informs the applicant of the amount he needs to repay, including any benefits distributed to family members, whether or not they live with the applicant.
Retirees who receive Social Security benefits at full retirement age can suspend their benefits at any time by phone, in person or in writing. They may start payments again at any time, including retroactive payments if desired. Payments restart automatically when the retiree turns 70 years old. When retirees on Medicare Part B suspend Social Security payments, they must arrange for another method of payment for Part B premiums, as these normally come out of Social Security benefits.