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Social Security File and Suspend Strategy

Looking to make the most out of your Social Security retirement benefits? Consider the “file and suspend” strategy. A worker who wishes to wait until age 70 to maximize his/her benefits, would have, in the past, disqualified his/her spouse from collecting spousal benefits until that time. Recognizing this, Congress and the Social Security Administration developed a method that would allow a non-working or low-earning spouse to collect spousal benefits before his or her higher-earner spouse reached age 70. File and suspend allows the higher-earner spouse to file for benefits at full-retirement age (depending on when the individual was born, age 66 or 67); and then immediately suspend receiving benefits; and then wait to receive their own benefits at age 70. Since they have “filed,” the non-working or low-earning spouse can begin collecting spousal benefits at age 62 (reduced spousal benefits) or full-retirement age (full spousal benefits).

These moves are permanent, so make sure you touch base with your tax and/or financial planning advisor before making any decisions.

Daniel Gibson provides accounting, tax planning and consulting services to real estate and services industries and is a member of the AICPA and New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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