Aging Options

To Increase Social Security Benefits, Consider “Restricted Application”

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As you’ve probably heard, and as we reported in a recent article on this website, the rules governing some common Social Security strategies have recently changed.  (You can click here to access this article.) And if you’re about to start drawing Social Security benefits for you and your spouse, you may very likely be affected.

The biggest change, and the one we recently reported on, is the end of a practice known as “File and Suspend.” As summarized by local Social Security expert Andy Landis, this strategy allowed a beneficiary to file for benefits and then immediately suspend receiving them, which in turn produced three significant advantages:

  • Future Social Security payments continued to increase while suspended
  • The spouse or qualifying children of the beneficiary could immediately start drawing benefits to which they were entitled
  • All suspended payments could be collected retroactively if the beneficiary decided to end the suspension.

But the new rules eliminate this practice, except for those few who may be eligible to file before May 1, 2016. So what strategies are there to maximize benefits? Consider a second idea called “Restricted Application,” or RA. This practice is still allowed for anyone born before January 1, 1954. Under RA, the beneficiary waits to file until age 66, then takes only his or her spousal (or ex-spousal) benefits. By waiting to draw full benefits until age 70, those benefits have grown by 32% — worth waiting for. Meanwhile your spousal benefits keep coming.

Is this “Restricted Application” option the right one for you? Possibly – and in order to find out, Andy Landis advises that you search for “Social Security Calculator” online. Just make sure the one you use is updated to the new rules. According to Andy, “The calculator at is already updated and others are coming.” And, he adds, “Check with the Social Security Administration before locking in any strategy.”

As always, we welcome the opportunity to serve as your guide as you plan for a fruitful and secure retirement. Social Security is only one part of a much larger puzzle! We invite you to begin mapping out your retirement by attending a free LifePlanning Seminar coming soon to a location near you. Click on the Upcoming Events tab on our website for the details. You’re also invited to call our office any time for an appointment so we can go over your plan in person.

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