Can You Confirm This?

Category: 
May 18 2018 - 12:26pm

Can you please confirm the Social Security (SS) strategy called “File and Restrict” is A). Is a different strategy than “File and Suspend”, the latter no longer permissible; B). File and Resyrict is still available. Two sources inform me File and Restrict is still available: They include 1). A SS agent in person during an on-site meeting & 2). an AARP SS expert who responded in writing. Two other sources inform me it is not available both were SS personnel, one on the phone & one st the front window of a SS office. Thank you.

Hi,

My answer would depend on what you specifically mean by 'File and Restrict' and 'File and Suspend'. Both of those terminologies are just descriptive of potential actions that a person can take and are not official Social Security definitions. Based on how those terms are commonly used, though, I would say yes they are different strategies and both are still conditionally available.

'File and Restrict' basically refers to filing for one type of benefit while restricting other types of benefits from the scope of the application that's being filed. For example, a person born prior to January 2 1954 can file for spousal benefits at their full retirement age (FRA) or later and restrict benefits on their own record from the scope of that application, but people born after January 1 1954 can't do the same (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/claiming.html?intcmp=AE-RET-PLRT-REL...).

'File and Suspend' describes filing for benefits and then voluntarily suspending those benefits. The only type of benefits that can be voluntarily suspended are retirement benefits, and only between a person's FRA and age 70. So, it's possible for a person to file for their retirement benefits and then voluntarily suspend them from FRA until age 70, or for only part of that time. This is true regardless of when the person was born. However, if a person voluntarily suspends their retirement benefits after April 29 2016 they can't receive any other type of benefits while their benefits are suspended, and their spouse and children can't receive benefits on their record during the suspension (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspendfaq.html).

Best, Jerry