A law was recently passed in November that blocks a threatened 50% premium hike for many Medicare recipients in 2016. If married, the same law that eliminates techniques you can use, can boost your Social Security benefits – potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars. The Social Security disability professionals at Disability Associates, Inc. discuss everything you need to know regarding File and Suspend.
Before the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 takes full effect, you and your spouse might still have the chance to act on behaviors resulting in rewarding outcomes for claiming Social Security.
People at age 66 must act fast
Disappearing soon is the “file and suspend” option from Social Security. In other words, if you were 66-years-old, you were able to file for retirement benefits and then further delay taking payments. The tradeoff here is that your spouse, and potentially other family members, can collect money based on your record, while your own monthly payment grows an 8% rate per year until you turn 70.
In most cases, this is a means for receiving income early in retirement for both you and your spouse, while maxing out what you or your widow/widower will receive later. However, you only have until April 29 to file and suspend. If you suspend your benefit after that date, no one will be able to collect benefits based on your record – and you won’t be able to collect someone else’s either.
Another reason to file and suspend before the end of April if 66 years of age is if you’ve ceased monthly payments to receive higher ones later, you are allowed to change your mind up until your 70th birthday. Instead of taking the high monthly payments you’ve earned, you can ask for a lump sum equal to all money you would have received otherwise.
For example, if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, you could potentially receive a large amount of money for medical costs right away rather than waiting for higher monthly payments that may not be around to collect. Conversely, suspending payments after April will prevent you from obtaining the lump-sum option thereafter.
Wait as long as you can to file
Another change coming soon is the ability to choose the benefit you receive. Currently, if you’re at least 66, you can file to collect money based on your spouse’s record but not your own, thus letting your own monthly benefit grow until you’re 70. Fortunately, you’ll still have that choice – only if you turned 62 before the end of 2015. If younger, you’ll get only an amount roughly equal to the greater of your retirement or spousal benefit once you file.
In sum, in many cases, if your own benefit could grow bigger than your spousal benefit, you’re best off waiting as long as you can to file.
These several items are pertinent to know for Medicare recipients this year. For more information regarding upcoming changes and what it means for you and your family, contact Disability Associates, LLC today.