My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.
The law is currently changing as Congress has enacted HR 1314 which will go into effect on May 1, 2016. It eliminates two different loopholes, the "file and suspend" and the "restricted benefit". It will not effect you as you describe in your question. Let me explain the two strategies, and you need to take into account your financial needs and your health to see if any of these strategies are for you. Currently, a spouse can only take the spousal benefit if the other spouse has elected to take their benefit. A spouse must be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child in her/his care also. By a qualifying child, social security means a child who is under age 16 or who receives Social Security disability benefits. Currently the law is changing and a "suspend and file" cannot be elected starting on may 1, 2016. In this circumstance at full retirement age (66) you could file and suspend your benefits and continue earning credits until age 70 and your spouse could elect to take the spousal benefit. You would continue to defer your benefits until age 70 and earn (8% credits to add to your benefit per year) At age 66, the spousal benefit can be as much as half of the worker's "primary insurance amount," depending on the spouse's age at retirement. Again, if the spouse begins receiving benefits before "normal (or full) retirement age," the spouse will receive a reduced benefit. However, if a spouse is caring for a qualifying child, the spousal benefit is not reduced. The "restricted benefit" is also being eliminated. Again, if one turned age 62 be the end of December 31, 2015, they would be grandfathered in and at full retirement age they will still be able to restrict their benefit. This means that if a spouse would like to elect to take only the spousal benefit as opposed to their normal retirement benefit, they can restrict their election to ONLY the spousal benefit. This would allow them to collect the full 50% spousal benefit while still gaining credits to their normal retirement benefit from ages 66-70 ( the credit increases your benefit approximately 8% per year). After the law changes, at full retirement age, you would have to take the higher of the spousal benefit and your retirement benefit. You can no longer choose just the spousal and let your normal retirement benefit grow while still take the spousal benefit.
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