Good afternoon Joan,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
There is a tremendous amount of misleading information as well as outright misinformation floating around the internet and on radio and TV about the recent changes in the law. In reality the changes effect only a very small percentage of Americans and they relate to a spouse benefit.
The reality is that there is not really unclaimed benefits (and this is where the big lie really is), but there are 2 loopholes being closed that would allow a very select few people to get more benefits over the remainder of their lives.
Unless you are presently married, at least 62 years old and not receiving a social security benefit yet, then the changes will not effect you and will not allow you to get any extra money from social security when you retire. Neither will the changes mean that you will get less of a retirement benefit when you do retire. The monthly benefit amounts have not changed.
The loopholes being closed---there are 2 of them--- allow the following:
1. A person over 66 who is not taking their own benefit yet to File and Suspend a retirement claim, and allow their spouse to take an immediate spouse benefit. This loophole ends on May 1, 2016 for everyone, regardless of age.
2. Allow you to take a Restricted Spouse Benefit after age 66 and still allow your own retirement benefit to grow to age 70 by 8% per year----but in order to qualify for this loophole, you MUST be born before February 2, 1954 and not yet be receiving any kind of a social security benefit when you first apply for the spouse benefit.
So unless you fall into one of the 2 categories above, then the change in the laws have no direct impact on you.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
I hope that I have been able to fully answer your question. Please be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am credited for assisting you.
I wish you and yours the best in 2016,