Social Security Benefit Advisory


I hope each of you are doing well. I recently received a forwarded email from John Welch which I feel is of the upmost importance to individuals within our age group regarding maximizing our social security benefit. I would urge each of you to review the information provided by John below and take action if applicable to you.

P.S. - This information has also been posted as a permanent link on the class homepage.


This is an FYI that is very important to a select group of individuals who want to maximize their Social Security Benefit (Increase 8% / year by delaying payment from age 66 to age 70, resulting in permanent + 32% increase  for life), who will be age 66 on or before April 29, 2016, and who has a spouse at least 62 years old. A current election option will allow a 66 year old (who has attained maximum benefit) to file & suspend benefit payments until age 70, gaining 8% / year for a maximum of+ 32% by age 70. Once he/she files & suspends, their spouse (at least 62 years old) is eligible immediately for a spousal benefit of  50% of the major earner’s benefit, which translates up to a $60K benefit over the 4 years while the major wage earner defers his / her benefit to age 70. The new regulation will still allow the file & suspend strategy, but the 50% spousal benefit will no longer be available during the period of suspended benefit. However, this change is not effective until April 30th.


I will turn age 66 on April 11th, which qualifies me under the current rules. I have filed & suspended, and my wife has filed for her 50% spousal benefit  ($15K / year x 4 years = $60K), which she will start to receive in May. Had I waited until after April 29th (current deadline for the extended window), this option would be off the table.


As I stated above, any one born in 1949 or 1950, who has a spouse at least age 62, who will be age 66 an on or before April 29th, who wants to maximize his / her social security benefit (i.e. Increase 8% / year until age 70 for a permanent 32% life time increase, subject to cost of living increases), can file and suspend their benefit, granting their spouse an immediate  50% benefit (could be as high as $15K/year x 4 years).  The 50% spousal benefit (i.e. $15K / year) will be terminated on April 30th, so time is limited. 


This little known  strategy to maximize social security retirement  benefit (utilized by @ 2% of filers), will soon not be an option.  I would hate to inform an eligible individual in May that they lost a $60K benefit because they did not know about this change, or filed after the dead line.