What strategies can you use to increase you and your spouse’s joint lifetime Social Security benefits?
The file & suspend strategy puts a married couple in the position of receiving maximum Social Security benefits at age 70, with one spouse able to claim some of the benefits at their full retirement age.
As an example, if your full retirement age for a couple 66 and one spouse, let’s say the husband in this instance, claims Social Security at age 66 but then elects to suspend his benefit entirely, the wife can claim a monthly spousal benefit (roughly 50% of her husbands benefit) when she reaches 66.
This is accomplished by filing a restricted claim for a spousal benefit only at that time. So while some spousal benefits are coming in, the couple has elected to put off receiving their own Social Security benefit until age 70. This will allow them to collect the delayed retirement credits of 8% annually between ages 66 and 70. At age 70 each spouse will be entitled to collect their own enhanced benefits.
Social Security planning pays off!