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How Married Couples Can Maximize Their Social Security Benefits

There are many different strategies that are used to maximize Social Security benefits.  One strategy that married couples can use is “File and Suspend.” 

How does this strategy work?  Let’s look at an example of John and Jill Smith.  John plans on working to age 70.  He is the breadwinner so when John reaches full retirement age (FRA) currently at age 66, he files for his benefit and immediately suspends the benefit.  This allows Jill who has a lower benefit or no benefit under their own record to collect a benefit.  Once Jill reaches age 66 she files for a spousal benefit under John’s record.  If she files for a spousal benefit before her FRA her benefit is reduced.  She will receive 50% of his benefit by waiting until she turns 66.  By John suspending his benefits, he will receive 8% in delayed retirement credits (DRCs) each year on his own benefit until age 70 when he start to collect his benefit. 

This strategy accomplishes the following goals:

Jill receives a higher benefit.

Jill receives a spousal benefit even while John chooses to continue working.

John obtains delayed retirement credits on his own benefit.

John can continue working until age 70 if he desires and this strategy will not be affected. 

Like I said, this is just one of the many strategies used to maximize your social security benefits and depending on individual circumstance this strategy may not work in your situation.  Please consult with a qualified financial professional regarding your individual circumstances.

For a free personalized analysis report of your situation please email me at or call my office at 609-303-0277.