Changes to Social Security claiming strategies are summed up in the following bullet points:
- Those who have already implemented a “file and suspend” strategy, they will be “grandfathered” and allowed to continue with their claiming strategy.
- Those who still have 6 months from the time the budget bill is signed to implement a “file and suspend” strategy (by April 30, 2016). After this period, any request to suspend benefits will stop all payments of benefits on a worker’s record including spousal and other family benefits.
- Those who will have reached age 62 by the end of 2015, it remains possible to file a “restricted application” for spousal benefits only at full retirement age. This option is effectively being “phased out” over the next four years.
- Those who will reach age 62 beginning in 2016 and later, the option to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only will not exist. This means that those who become eligible for both their own benefit and a spousal benefit and apply before age 70 will automatically be paid the equivalent of the higher of the two benefits.
- For those who qualify for their own retirement benefit, the maximum benefit will be paid at age 70. You will still earn delayed retirement credits of 8% per year between their full retirement age and age 70.
- It remains possible to voluntarily suspend benefits. So those who begin early and wish to temporarily stop benefits to earn delayed retirement credits, they can do so at their full retirement age. However, all benefits being paid on the worker’s record will stop.
- Benefits for widows are basically unchanged.
- Divorcees will no longer be able to take advantage of filing a restricted application for divorced spousal benefits only so that their own retirement benefit can accrue delayed retirement credits. The exception to this is the group who will have already reached age 62 by the end of 2015.
Source: Social Security Analyzer
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