With the stroke of a pen, a favorite Social Security filing strategy has been taken off the table. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was signed November 2nd and eliminated most of the “File and Suspend” options after April 30, 2016. Below is a summary of the recent changes.
File and Suspend
• Currently: A person who is at or past their full retirement age (FRA) can file for their benefits but suspend receiving them, allowing a spouse to collect off of their record.
• Through April 30, 2016: Anyone age 66 or older can still file and suspend to allow an eligible spouse to collect a benefit off their record.
• After April 30 2016: “File and Suspend” will no longer allow a spouse to collect benefits off of the filer’s record unless the filer takes a benefit. For a spouse to collect a benefit, filers must collect their own benefit and forgo delayed retirement credits. If an individual suspends benefits, all spousal and dependent benefits will be suspended.
Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits
• Currently: A spouse who is at or past FRA, and who has not received any benefits, can choose either a spousal benefit only (referred to as a Restricted Application) or his or her own individual benefit.
• Anyone 62+ by the end of 2015 is grandfathered and retains the ability to restrict their claim to spousal benefits only if they wait to collect until they reach their FRA.
Individuals who are younger than 62 will not have the choice of which benefit they collect when they reach FRA. Regardless of their age, they will be “deemed” to have filed for the highest benefit. They will no longer have the option to restrict their benefit to their spousal benefit only.
Smedley Financial and its advisors do not provide personal tax advice. It is important to coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your situation.