The file & suspend claiming strategy has been eliminated as of April 30, 2016. However, the restricted application strategy is still available for people that were born on or before January 1, 1954. They can restrict their social security application to their spousal benefit at full retirement age (FRA) now and in the future.
If I have a married couple at FRA that have a need for income here are a couple of options:
- The primary wage earner can apply for benefits at FRA, continue to work, and allow the spouse to apply for their benefit. This creates three income sources in the event the need is there.
- Another option, depending on the age or income needed, is the following: The lower wage earner can apply for their social security benefit and the primary wage earner can apply at FRA and restrict their application to their spousal benefits and received delayed credits on his own benefit. If the lower wage earner is at FRA both spouses can continue to work, if need be, and not be subject to the annual earnings test.
Many Americans these days are in need of their social security sooner than later because they simply need the income or they are in poor health and delaying would not be beneficial in the long run.
None of us have a crystal ball but my stance is delay taking social security if the follow apply:
- You plan to continue to work.
- You are not in need of the income.
- You are in very good health.
- You have longevity in your family history.
Delaying benefits to FRA or delaying to age 70 and receiving delayed credits. This will maximize you social security income in retirement. It was also maximize the social security survivor benefit for your spouse.
As seen on U.S. News & World Report