Social Security Windows of Opportunity

Peter M. Weinbaum, JD


In the wee hours of the morning today (October 30, 2015), the Senate passed the budget bill, along with its Social Security provisions, and sent it on for the President’s signature, which is universally assumed to be a formality.

Although many of the advantages of file and suspend will no longer be available once the law takes full effect, and the ability to file a restricted application for spousal benefits will also be lost for many, there are some silver linings in the portion of the law providing for effective dates:

 

Deemed Filing/Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits Only:

 

  1. The new rules apply to spouses (and divorced spouses) who attain age 62 in any calendar year after 2015.
  2. That means you must have been born on or before January 1, 1954, to be exempt from the new rules.
  3. If you qualify for grandfathering, you will be eligible to file a restricted application between ages 66 and 70, provided that your spouse has filed for his or her own benefits.
  4. If you file for your own benefits before 66, and your spouse subsequently files for his or her own benefits, you will not be deemed to have filed for spousal benefits.

File and suspend:

 

  1. The new provisions apply to those who suspend benefits 180 days or more from the date of enactment.
  2. The law will not be enacted until the president signs it into law. If the law were enacted today (October 30, 2015), you would need to have filed for your benefits and requested suspension before April 27, 2016, to avoid the new rules.
  3. In order to do so, you would need to have been born no later than April 1950.
  4. If you are successful in filing and suspending before the effective date of the new rules, then the following may be eligible to claim on your record even while your benefits are under suspension:
    1. Your spouse who attained age 62 on or before January 1, 2016
    2. Your spouse who has a child of yours in care
    3. Your minor or disabled adult child
    4. Your dependent parent

 

As for the rest of us who are not eligible for grandfathering, our opportunities for creative benefit claiming may be less expansive, but we will still have the challenging task of choosing the most advantageous claiming options available to protect our quality of life in retirement.

 

Peter M. Weinbaum, JD

The Social Security Maven®