New Here? Get the Free Newsletter

Oblivious Investor offers a free newsletter providing tips on low-maintenance investing, tax planning, and retirement planning. Join over 21,000 email subscribers:

Articles are published Monday and Friday. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Social Security: Should I File and Suspend Before 4/30/2016?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions from readers this month about the upcoming “file and suspend” deadline. So let’s go through this one final time, as succinctly and clearly as possible.

First, let’s make sure we’re clear on the deadline itself, as there has been a lot of misinformation on that topic. If you request suspension of benefits by 4/29/16 or earlier, the old rules will apply to your request. If the SSA receives your request to suspend benefits on 4/30/16 or later, the new rules will apply.

If you meet all of the following requirements, it likely makes sense for you to file and suspend (i.e., file for your own retirement benefit and ask to have it suspended) prior to 4/30/2016.

One: You attain* full retirement age prior to the deadline. (You cannot request suspension of benefits until you have reached full retirement age.)

Two: You plan to delay your own retirement benefit beyond full retirement age. (If you want to actually receive your retirement benefit, suspending it obviously isn’t a good idea.)

Three: You want somebody else (e.g., your spouse) to be able to receive a benefit based on your work record prior to the point at which you actually start receiving your retirement benefit. Or you want to preserve the ability to retroactively unsuspend later as a “change your mind” strategy.

Four: You do not intend to receive spousal benefits on your spouse’s work record between your FRA and age 70. (If you want your own retirement benefit to continue growing while you collect spousal benefits, you have to file a “restricted application” for just spousal benefits. But if you file and suspend, you are by definition filing for your own retirement benefit — rather than filing for spousal-only — and that will really mess up your plan.)

*In the world of Social Security, you “attain” an age on the day before your birthday.

Want to Learn More about Social Security? Pick Up a Copy of My Book:

Social Security cover Social Security Made Simple: Social Security Retirement Benefits and Related Planning Topics Explained in 100 Pages or Less
Topics Covered in the Book:
  • How retirement benefits, spousal benefits, and widow(er) benefits are calculated,
  • How to decide the best age to claim your benefit,
  • How Social Security benefits are taxed and how that affects tax planning,
  • Click here to see the full list.

A Testimonial from a Reader on Amazon:

"An excellent review of various facts and decision-making components associated with the Social Security benefits. The book provides a lot of very useful information within small space."
Disclaimer: By using this site, you explicitly agree to its Terms of Use and agree not to hold Simple Subjects, LLC or any of its members liable in any way for damages arising from decisions you make based on the information made available on this site. I am not a financial or investment advisor, and the information on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.

Copyright 2020 Simple Subjects, LLC - All rights reserved. To be clear: This means that, aside from small quotations, the material on this site may not be republished elsewhere without my express permission. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

My new Social Security calculator (beta): Open Social Security