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Social Security - Restricted Spousal Benefits

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 changed some Social Security rules, and one of the biggest changes was to gradually eliminate the ability for one spouse to file for restricted spousal benefits only. The word "restricted" initially appears to represent something negative, but actually, it's a good thing. Unfortunately, the rule will be going away in a couple of years.The eligibility rules are essentially the same for filing for spousal benefits as it is for restricted spousal benefits, with the following provision:

 To file for restricted spousal benefits:

  • You must have been born on or before January 1, 1954.
  • You must be at least 66 years-old

The benefit of filing for spousal benefits only (restricted) is that one spouse can receive 50% of their spouses PIA while their own benefits continue to grow by 8% a year until the age of 70 with the use of delayed retirement credits. For example, Spouse A, who is 66, files for spousal benefits on their Spouse B, who is also 66 and receiving their own retirement benefits. Spouse A will receive 50% of Spouse B’s primary insurance amount while Spouse A’s retirement benefits increase by 8% a year for four years. 

Divorced Spouses can also qualify to file for restricted spousal benefits. In fact, ex-spouses are excluded from the married couple requirement that one of the spouses be collecting benefits before the other spouse can receive spousal benefits. 

At Carr Wealth Management, LLC, we specialize in identifying the optimal claiming strategy tailored to each client’s needs. Please contact us to schedule a no-charge consultation or if you simply have a question about Social Security Benefits or other financially related planning areas.


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