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Your Opportunity to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits is Coming to an End Soon


President Obama recently signed the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.” Part of the act allowed married couples (and divorced couples who meet certain criteria) to maximize their social security.

The act will eliminate two provisions that allow married couples to maximize their monthly social security benefit:

  • File and Suspend
  • Claim Now, Claim More Later

However, you still have some time left before your opportunity to take advantage of these provisions officially comes to an end.

Take a look at the changes and how they could impact you:

  1. File and Suspend

Under this strategy, a spouse with a high income files for Social Security at full retirement age, but delays actually receiving the benefits until age 70. The government then actually increases the benefit amount you would receive by a percentage, depending on your date of birth.

The spouse with the lower income can file for spousal benefits in the meantime. After April 30, 2016, spouses and other dependents will not be able to collect from the suspended benefit, eliminating any reason to take the “file and suspend” action.

However, you still have until that date to take advantage of the “file and suspend” action. So if you’re eligible, it’s wise to take that action now.

  1. Claim Now, Claim More Later

Under this provision of social security, the higher-earning spouse can file for spousal benefits, which allows their own benefit to earn delayed retirement credits. They can do this at full retirement age. Remember, with delayed retirement credits, the government pays you an additional percentage on top of what you would have received, based on your birth date.

Then, once you hit 70, you can switch to your own benefit. Under this provision, you can receive the larger of the spousal or retirement benefit regardless of your age when filing.

However, you’re still eligible to do this as long as you have turned no more than 62 years old by the end of 2015. You’ll file what’s called a “restricted application.”

What Can You Do?

You should strongly consider taking advantage of these strategies if you’re eligible to do so. However, if you’re not eligible, you’ll want to plan your retirement so you have the income these strategies would have offered (an additional 8% per year for each year you delay between your full retirement age and age 70).

And that’s when it makes sense to consult a financial professional for help planning your retirement. It isn’t easy planning all your income for retirement, and a professional can help you successfully navigate all the bureaucratic obstacles to making that happen.