Social Security Strategies For Married Couples

By Chuck McCabe | September 17, 2015
Posted in: Uncategorized

Social Security Benefits

Is it almost time to retire and start receiving Social Security Benefits? There are some popular strategies you should know about before claiming your benefits.

Claim Twice

If you and your spouse are both at full retirement age, the claim twice strategy might be an appropriate move for you. This strategy works for couples who have some cash flow needs but not enough for both to claim full benefits. One spouse will claim 100% of the their benefit at that time, while the other collects “spousal benefits” on that same account.

The spouse with the lower benefits will take their actual benefit earlier, and the other person would file a restricted application for the spousal benefit.


File and Suspend

Another retirement strategy is to have the lower earning spouse “file and suspend” at the age of 66. The other spouse can start collecting spousal benefits at 66 until both reach 70.

This strategy works if one spouse plans to receive much higher benefits than the other and the lower earning spouse would actually receive higher payments with a spousal benefit.


Restricting an application

For spouses who earn more income than their partners and have reached full retirement age but want to delay benefits until age 70 in order to maximize your own benefit and survivor benefits. While you wait until age 70, you can still receive benefits by applying for a spousal benefit for yourself.

To execute this strategy, the lower-earning spouse claims her own benefit first, then the higher earner files for benefits based on the lower-earning spouse’s earnings.

Remember that each year you delay taking Social Security, you could receive up to 8% more. Knowing which strategy will work best for your family is important.

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