Should You File and Suspend before April 29, 2016?

[NOTE: Our software has been updated to reflect the new claiming rules, so reports are now available. Caveat: if you think you still qualify for the file-and-suspend option, you should first order our new custom report and then contact us for an additional custom report (free) that fully addresses the file and suspend issue.]

[Also note that if you are filing and suspending so that your spouse can use the restricted application (or free spousal) option at a later date, you are the only one affected by this April 29 deadline. The other spouse does not need to file for spousal benefits until they turn 66.]

If you want to use the file and suspend strategy for getting spousal benefits for your spouse while letting your own benefits continue to grow, you must have filed and suspended by April 29, 2016. If you suspend after that date (even though you may have filed earlier), spousal benefits paid on your record will also be suspended. (Keep in mind that if you file and suspend, that eliminates any opportunity for you to use a restricted application strategy to get “free” spousal benefits.)

There are two circumstances in which you (or your spouse) might want to file and suspend. In either circumstance, the person filing and suspending must be age 66 or older by no later April 29, 2016.

If you fall into this circumstance, and you want our help, you should do the following. Order a married persons report from us for $39.99. Then contact us for further free assistance and an additional free report.


This case involves using file and suspend in order to set up a restricted application strategy for the other spouse.

In this circumstance, the spouse (let’s say the wife) who stands to receive spousal benefits must have been born in 1953 or earlier. She can claim spousal benefits at age 66 while letting her own retirement benefits continue to grow, provided the husband has filed prior to her filing for spousal benefits.  That is, she can use the restricted application strategy.

In order for her to get spousal benefits, he needs to have filed for his own benefits. If he wants ,to file and suspend, then he must meet the following two conditions: 1) he is at least 66 years old by April 29, 2016, and 2) he is not four or more years older than his wife. If he is more than four years older, there is no need to suspend. He will be 70 before his wife can file a restricted application.


This case does not involve a restricted application strategy.  Rather, the file and suspend strategy is used to allow the wife to claim spousal benefits and her own retirement benefits (if any) at the same time. To simplify the discussions, assume the wife has no retirement benefits.

The husband wants to wait until 70 to claim benefits. However, if he is 66 or older by April 29, 2016, he can file and suspend and let his own benefits grow until age 70.

In order to claim spousal benefits, the wife must be at least 62. The husband could file and suspend by April 29 provided he is at least 66 but less than 70. This means that the age gap between the husband and the wife in this example could approach 8 years (versus 4 years in Circumstance 1).  For example, if the husband is 66 in March 2016, he could file and then suspend payments until he reaches age 70 in March 2020. Suppose the wife is 8 years younger, so she turns 62 in March 2020. She could claim spousal benefits for one month while his benefits remained suspended. Of course, if the age gap was less than 8 years, she could receive spousal benefits for up to 4 years while his were under suspension. If the age gap is greater than 8 years, nothing is gained by filing and suspending.

If you fall into this circumstance, and you want our help, you should do the following. Order a married persons report from us for $39.99. Then contact us for further free assistance and an additional free custom report that deals with file and suspend.

2 thoughts on “Should You File and Suspend before April 29, 2016?

  1. Lyn Richards

    My hubby and I are both disabled. He is currently 76 and on SSI which was converted from SSD at age 67 (I think). He was injured on the job while running our businesses, and began to collect SSD in 1995.

    I ran the business until 1997, then we sold it and and I went to work in corporate America. In 2007, I was badly injured while on the job, and ultimately had to take disability starting in 2009. I am currently 58, and besides my other injury, I just had to have a total hip Replacement.

    my question pertains to the spousal benefits (file and suspend). After reading your generous info, I am unable to determine if these circumstances would pertain to us. Please advise and know that we appreciate your service and advice

    Lyn Richards

  2. Edward Woodall

    I w’ll be 66, August 16th of this year, 2016. I’m still working. My wife is 70 yrs old and been on SS since she was 62. With the file and suspend going away, what other options do we have other than delaying filing for SS at a later date other than when I turn 66 to maximize our SS benefits.

    It’s sad that our elected official can’t fix social security benefits by taking benefits away. It does hurt the low and middle income earners.


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