The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 included significant changes to Social Security's rules. Maximize My Social Security is now fully updated to account for these new rules.
The new rules dramatically change Social Security claiming options and effectively divide each individual into one of three groups:
- People born on or before May 1, 1950 will be the least affected, although if they plan to suspend their retirement benefit and still allow others to collect auxiliary benefits based on their record (i.e., spousal and child benefits) during suspension, they must request benefit suspension no later than April 29, 2016.
- People born between May 2, 1950 and January 1, 1954 will see mixed effects of the new rules on their optimal benefits filing strategy.
- People born on or after January 2, 1954 will be the most affected in terms of the effects of filing and suspending as well as not being able to file a restricted application for either just a spousal benefit or just a retirement benefit even after their full retirement age. They will not receive auxiliary benefits during suspension.
Individuals in groups 2 and 3, as well as married couples with at least one spouse in group 2 or 3, should recalculate their maximized strategy now that Maximize My Social Security is updated to reflect the new rules. Here's how the new rules can affect you:
- No one can collect a spousal or child benefit based on the covered earnings record of a worker who suspends retirement benefits on or after April 30, 2016, during the period that the worker's retirement benefit remains suspended. Those born after May 1, 1950 cannot file and suspend within this window and those born on or before May 1, 1950 must request to suspend on or before April 29, 2016 to allow auxiliary benefits to be claimed on his or her record while their retirement benefit is suspended.
- No one who requests to suspend his or her retirement benefit on or after April 30, 2016 can collect an excess spousal or excess widow(er)'s benefit while their retirement benefit is suspended
- For those born on or after January 2, 1954, deeming is extended through age 70. Deeming is the requirement that if you take your retirement benefit and are eligible for a spousal benefit or a divorced spouse's benefit, you need to also take your spousal benefit and vice versa. This leaves you with roughly the larger of the two benefits.
- Only those who suspend their retirement benefit on or before April 29, 2016 will be able to receive a lump sum payment of previously suspended benefits. Those who suspend their retirement benefits on or after April 30, 2016 can no longer receive their suspended retirement benefits in a lump sum payment.
- Those who are subject to deeming, but aren't deemed to be filing for their excess spousal benefits when they file for their retirement benefit because their spouse has not yet filed for his/her retirement benefit will be so deemed as of the date their spouse files for his/her retirement benefit.