Spouses who are turning full retirement age this year are the last group who can choose whether to take spousal benefits or to take benefits on their own record. The strategy, used by some couples to maximize their benefits, will not be available to people turning full retirement age after 2019.

The claiming strategy — sometimes known as “Claim Now, Claim More Later” — allows a higher-earning spouse to claim a spousal benefit at full retirement age by filing a restricted application for benefits. While receiving the spousal benefit, the higher-earning spouse’s regular retirement benefit continues to increase. Then at 70, the higher-earning spouse can claim the maximum amount of his or her retirement benefit and stop receiving the spousal benefit. To use this strategy, the lower-earning spouse must also be claiming benefits. Workers cannot claim spousal benefits unless their spouses are also claiming benefits.

According to Stanley Vasiliadis, Elder Law Attorney with Vasiliadis Pappas Associates, “There are various alternative options under Social Security.  Which one works best for any given person or married couple depends upon many variables including expected longevity, other sources of income,  the nature and amount of savings, existing and anticipated future financial obligations, and not least of all, the impact on your existing estate plan.  There’s more to it than simply looking at illustration tables.”

Contact the lawyers at Vasiliadis Pappas Associates to help you make the right choice, contact us today.