Social Security Options Remain
Recent federal legislation ended several strategies that could help you maximize Social Security retirement benefits. But with some advance planning, you still can take advantage of a few things the new law didn't change.
1. File and suspend: A higher-earning spouse could apply for retirement benefits at full retirement age, which is age 66 for most baby boomers. Then the same spouse suspended the benefits, usually until age 70, when the amount of monthly payments from the government would be higher. In the meantime, the lower-earning spouse claimed spousal benefits, which would be larger than the other spouse would have received on his or her own.
This strategy disappeared on April 29, 2016 (six months from the date the new law was enacted). If you suspend benefits now, not only will you not receive benefits, but your spouse also won't be entitled to the higher spousal benefits. But if you turned age 62 before 2016 and you already chose to "file and suspend," you still qualify.
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