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Written by Erich M. Imphong, CFP®

Social Security, for many, will be one of the most important resources for retirement income. Ironically, very few know how to maximize the benefits currently available. Yet these are benefits you are entitled to and have every right to capitalize on. It is of paramount importance to be aware of these benefits because the legislative landscape is changing on ways to claim your benefits. You may need to act quickly if you are eligible for certain claiming strategies!

Specifically, congress has just passed a new federal budget, and the law reduces or eliminates two strategies that some retirees have used to increase their Social Security benefits. We encourage you to contact us for a complimentary analysis if you are interested in learning more on claiming strategies.

Changes to Strategies for Claiming Social Security

Below is a summary on some of the changes. We hope you find the information useful and informative.

  • For individuals who have already implemented a “file and suspend” strategy, they will be “grandfathered” and allowed to continue with their claiming strategy.
  • Individuals still have 6 months from the time the budget bill is signed to implement a “file and suspend” strategy if age 66 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.
  • For individuals 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.
  • 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.

Yes, depending on your circumstances, social security retirement benefits may be a big piece of your income in retirement. We recommend speaking to your advisor and taking the time to analyze your social security benefits to determine how they can be maximized and integrated with your entire investment portfolio. As Retirement Income Specialists we focus on ways to enhance income in your golden years while focusing on your financial goals and objectives.