In a surprise move Congress closed popular Social Security loopholes for married couples, but that does not mean that all Social Security strategies are gone.
The United States Congress takes a lot of heat for not doing very much. However, sometimes they do make important legislative changes. Recently while elder law and Social Security experts were not watching, Congress closed a couple of Social Security loopholes as part of a larger piece of legislation to ensure the nation does not default on its debts.
The loopholes, known as “file and suspend” and “restricted applications,” are complex.
What did they do? They basically allowed married couples to accrue a little bit more money out of the system by carefully filing the appropriate paperwork in a specific order at specific times. The majority of Americans did not take advantage of the loopholes either for practical reasons or because they did not know about them.
That these loopholes have been closed does not mean Americans can no longer plan to maximize their potential Social Security income.
This was the point of a recent article in Time entitled “There’s One Simple Social Security Strategy You Can Still Take to the Bank.”
The strategy suggested is to delay receiving Social Security benefits for as long as you possibly can. The longer you delay benefits, the more benefits you will receive.
On the other hand, many people cannot afford to delay benefits for the maximum amount of time.
It would be prudent to consult an estate planning attorney to help you weigh your options or help you find appropriate experts in Social Security planning.
Reference: Time (Dec. 31, 2015) “There’s One Simple Social Security Strategy You Can Still Take to the Bank.”