In October 2015, without much warning, a number of Social Security rules changed as part of the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. The changes do not affect people already receiving their Social Security checks, but clients who are planning their retirement should re-evaluate their plans for taking Social Security.
Those most affected by the recent changes will be married couples when both spouses have their own earnings record, but the changes will also impact benefits for divorced clients as well as strategies for single filers.
The most limiting of the changes is the elimination of the “file and suspend” capability, most frequently used by married couples to access spousal benefits. If you have not yet filed, and will be age 66 by April 30th of this year, consider filing and suspending before the April 30th deadline to preserve this strategy.
The ability to file a “restricted application” was also eliminated. Restricted filers can restrict their benefits to receive only part of what they were entitled to so other benefits can accrue until a later date. The ability to file a restricted application has been grandfathered for people born on or before January 1, 1954.
Social Security is a very valuable benefit; few people realize the significance of this guaranteed, cost-of-living adjusted income stream. Educate yourself on the options available to you and how they can be coordinated to maximize your benefits -- there are still strategies available. Contact us for more information.
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