An Update on the New Social Security Claiming Rules


My January AAII Journal article on the changes to Social Security claiming strategies advised treating April 29, 2016 as the deadline for using the file-and-suspend strategy. At the time of publication, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had not officially announced a deadline. Last week, the SSA issued an Emergency Message regarding the changes to claiming strategies. This notice officially set the deadline for file and suspend as April 29, 2016.

The SSA notice also clarified the treatment of divorced spouses. Benefits can continue to be claimed on an ex-spouse’s earnings record after April 29 even if the ex-spouse voluntarily suspends benefits. This rule only applies to ex-spouses meeting certain conditions, such as previously being married for at least 10 years.

This morning, the Wall Street Journal ran an article saying some individuals are receiving incorrect information from the SSA when they attempt to file and suspend or file restricted applications. A few AAII members have also said they have been given conflicting information from the Social Security Administration. If you qualify for file and suspend (born on April 30, 1950, or earlier) or to file a restricted application (born between May 1, 1950, and January 1, 1954) and are told you cannot, ask to speak with a supervisor.

Those who are planning to visit a Social Security Administration office or speak to representative on the phone should do so sooner rather than later. There is expected to be a rush of people seeking to file in mid-to-late April, making it potentially difficult to speak to a representative right during the weeks leading up to the April 29, 2016, deadline.


2 Replies to “An Update on the New Social Security Claiming Rules”

  1. As a person born in the 5/1/1950 to 12/31/1953 window, I wish I could find some clarification around what, if anything, we need to do now. My wife and I are 62 and in pretty good health and do not need to start taking benefits anytime soon.

    I understand we lose the option to “file and suspend” and retain the ability to do a “restricted application,” but was unclear to me whether I had to do anything about a restricted application by the deadline.

    ps – other than this question, I thought your January article was excellent.

  2. For those eligible for the restricted application, I also would like to know if any immediate action is required. I will exercise that strategy next year at my FRA unless I must do something now. Many of us need confirmation of what should be clear and evident, but we are very cautious because there are so many “land mines” that we have heard of.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *