Retirement Specialist With Over 40 Years Of Retirement Planning Experience
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 made some changes to the rules for claiming retirement and spousal benefits.
New rules: Deemed filing now applies to everyone, even those who are full retirement age or older. If you are eligible for both your own worker benefit and a spousal benefit when you file for Social Security, you will be deemed to be filing for both and will receive the higher of the two amounts. If you apply for your worker benefit and later qualify for a higher combined benefit (when your spouse claims Social Security), you would receive an additional amount automatically. Old “file and suspend” strategy: This strategy ended as of April 30, 2016. Although the ability to suspend benefits upon reaching full retirement age is still available, no benefits will be paid to you or to your dependents during the suspension period.
New rules: Eligibility for this strategy is limited to married individuals who were born on or before January 1, 1954. Upon reaching full retirement age (FRA), eligible individuals could file a “restricted application” for a spouse-only benefit and earn delayed retirement credits on their own work records. Later, they could switch to their potentially higher worker benefit amount, which would reach its maximum value at age 70. If attempted before FRA, they would be stuck with a permanently lower spousal benefit. An eligible individual can utilize this strategy even
if his or her spouse claims Social Security worker benefits before reaching full retirement age.
If you regret taking a permanently reduced Social Security benefit before reaching full retirement age, you can apply to withdraw benefits within 12 months of making the original
claim for benefits. However, you must repay all benefits you and your spouse have received. This option is available only once in your lifetime. The “do over” strategy was not changed by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
If you have already started receiving benefits and would prefer to stop them in order to receive higher benefits later, you can ask Social Security to suspend future benefits and restart them at a later date. To request this action, you must have reached full retirement age.
Keep in mind that your spouse cannot receive spousal benefits during the time when your benefits are suspended.
“3.6% is average annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1975. Inflation was too low
to trigger a COLA for 2010, 201 1, and 2016. The COLA for 2022 was 5.9%.”