Q. I applied for Social Security and got my first check in October 2019. Then I got a full-time job. So I called Social Security to suspend my benefits. If I restart benefits when I reach full retirement age at 66 and two months, would I get the same benefit amount I got the first time or will it be higher? — Working

A. Congratulations on your full-time job. We have some good news for you.  Social Security will only allow you to withdraw your application for benefits within the first 12 months.

You’ll have to complete Form SSA-521: Request for Withdrawal of Application, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.

She said once the form is processed, you will receive a notice that the full amount you received in payments will need to be repaid to Social Security. This will include the Social Security benefits you receive, any benefit paid to a spouse or children and withholding for Medicare.

This “do-over” can only happen once, she said.

When an application is withdrawn, you start over with Social Security as if you’ve never filed before, Mott said.

“As you approach Full Retirement Age (FRA) of 66 and 2 months, you can reapply to start your benefits and you will receive 100% of the payment at that time,” Mott said. “If you choose to wait beyond FRA, your benefit will grow by almost 8% per year until age 70, when you must file.”

As you continue to work, your benefit will be adjusted to reflect the new income, Mott said.

“Social Security uses the 35 years with the highest earnings as an input into the benefit calculation,” she said. “In addition, cost of living adjustments may be added which will also increase the amount you will be entitled to.”

Email your questions to Ask@NJMoneyHelp.com.

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