The Bipartisan Budget Act passed in 2015 (Public Law 114-74) made a few significant changes to Social Security. Prior to the passage of this bill, spouses could choose to ‘file and restrict’. That meant they could file for Social Security at full retirement age, but ‘restrict’ the benefit they received to their spousal benefit. Since benefits continue to accrue to age 70, it allowed their personal benefit to grow. They would then switch to their own higher benefit at age 70.
Essentially, it allowed a spouse to receive their maximum benefit (because they waited until age 70 to file for benefits on their own record)- and receive a spousal benefit while they were waiting.
Those born on or before January 1, 1954 still have the option to ‘file and restrict’. Those born on or after January 2 1954 will not. If you are one of the ‘lucky’ ones who are able to take advantage, a Social Security calculator (there are many available online) can show the filing strategy that makes the most sense. Of course, you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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