Mar 25, 2016

Do the Social Security File and Suspend and Restricted Application changes impact you?

In November, Congress decided to eliminate both the option to file and suspend your application and the option to file a restricted application. Fortunately, they are not closing the door on these options immediately, giving people who qualify for these benefits the opportunity to decide what they would like to do.

If you qualify, filing and suspending your application requires action on your part before April 29, 2016. The file and suspend option allows you to file your application and then suspend it, allowing your benefit to continue to grow, while at the same time allowing your spouse to receive benefits off your record.

How do I know if I qualify?  

You do NOT qualify and no action is needed on your part if:

  • You are already receiving social security
  • You have already filed and suspended
  • You were born later than April 30th, 1950
  • You are age 70 or older

Note: If you are married and this applies to one spouse, but not the other, one of you may still have the option to file and suspend. Please see below to determine if this applies to you.

If you are at least age 66 by April 29, 2016, you have the option to file and suspend. You should consider filing and suspending if:

  • You have a spouse, dependents, and/or a disabled child who will file for benefits off your record
  • You would like the option of changing your mind later and retroactively claiming all benefits going back to the original date of the suspension in a lump sum. For example, if you had an unexpected medical event/diagnoses, where you wished to receive all your delayed credits now, instead of waiting and receiving your increase in payments later.

If you plan to file and suspend, you can call the Social Security office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit a local social security office no later than April 29th, 2016.

What about filing a restricted application? A restricted application, allows you to file for spousal benefits only, without filing for your own benefit, allowing your benefit to continue to grow.

You qualify if you are currently married or you are an unmarried divorced spouse, married to the ex-spouse for at least 10 years and you were born January 1, 1954 or earlier.

No immediate action is necessary, unless you would like to file a restricted application now.

It is important to note that you may only chose one of these options (file and suspend or restricted application), if both are available to you. You will need to decide which one provides you with the biggest benefit.

If you fall within the designated age group that is eligible to file and suspend or file a restricted application and you are still feel unclear if you should/could file, we recommend you call the social security office, so they can walk you through your options while looking at your record.

Please feel free to contact us, should have any questions or concerns.