Congress has enacted some changes to the Social Security system that will be effective May 1, 2016. If you are not yet at retirement age these changes could affect you. One of the changes is the doing away with a practice known as "file and suspend." Here is how it worked: if you were 66 or older, you could file for full benefits and then turn around and suspend them. For each year you suspended your benefits up until age 70, you would get an extra 8% added to your check. By age 70, you could have seen a 32% increase in your checks. While your benefits were suspended you could have your spouse claim the spousal benefit. Effective May 1, 2016 the option for your spouse to claim your social security benefits while you suspend your benefits is gone. However, if you are close to age 66 and have not filed for Social Security, talk to a financial advisor or a Social Security expert to see how this change may affect you and whether you may still be eligible to "file and suspend." There is a lot of planning still to be done with Social Security.
- Written by Diversity Richmond