Are you contemplating retirement? Early retirement? Were you born in 1953 or earlier and have not yet filed your application? If so, there are a couple of filing strategies that are going away, but may be still available to you.
File & Suspend – This option is when the first spouse reaches full retirement age and files application but does not presently start taking benefits and allows the benefit to grow. This option does allow the second spouse to file and claim spousal benefits while the first spouse’s retirement benefit will continue to grow. This strategy is going away as presently available. In the future, if the first spouse chooses to suspend then the second spouse’s ability to file for spousal benefits is also suspended. The spousal benefit would only be available once the initial spouse elects to start receiving benefits.
This strategy is still available to anyone reaching full retirement age before April 30, 2016.
Restricted Application – This option is when the first spouse has already started receiving benefits. Once the second spouse reaches full retirement age, that spouse can file and start receiving spousal benefits but allow his/her own benefit to continue to grow. This strategy is going away as presently available. In the future, if the second spouse waits until full retirement age to claim, that spouse will automatically receive his/her own benefit first and then any spousal benefit that is eligible; but will not have an option of choosing.
This strategy is still available if you were born before 1953 and file your application before April 30, 2016.
The cost of living adjustment will be zero for 2016, so anyone receiving benefits will receive the same benefit in 2016 as presently receiving.
Social Security will no longer send statements as frequently as in past years. You will receive them incrementally. You can setup an online access with Social Security Administration which will allow you to receive your statement any time. It is important to make sure your statement is correct and all wages are properly listed each year as they will be looked at for calculating your retirement benefit.
Both of the above strategies can maximize retirement benefits and are going away. There is no one size fits all strategy. There are many factors that weigh into the decision: life expectancy, health issues, financial needs, working plans, etc. Knowing your options and making the choice that best suits your situation is the key.
If you were born before 1953 or reaching full retirement age before April 30, 2016 and have not filed your application to receive benefits, call us today at 1-866-287-9604 and discuss your options with one of our specialists, Suzan Ross or Brian Leedy.