Contributed by: Clare Lilek
Social Security is probably top of mind for a lot of you reading. Either you’ve heard about the changes being made to filing tactics regarding social security, or you’re getting ready to file and want to know the best strategy to use, or even how it works. We understand it can be complicated, and that’s why we’re here; to make sure you’re getting the most out of your social security benefit. Matt Trujillo, CFP®, held a webinar on the recent changes made to social security and how they could impact you and your spouse. He also went through a few scenarios of spousal benefits in order to clarify how the social security math equation works. He also explained a couple filing strategies that you and your spouse can take advantage of.
Calculating Your Benefits
First of all, Matt stressed that when you file for social security, your benefits statement is a snap shot in time. A predetermined formula uses the Full Retirement Age of 66 as the filing age and your previous work history for determining benefits. Your actual benefits you will receive might not correspond with this statement since it’s a picture of your benefits using your current situation as the determining factors, not your future situation. This is helpful to keep in mind as you’re going through the filing process.
Matt goes through three different examples of spouses filing for benefits in order for you to better understand how filing for social security works, and how that math formula benefits you and your spouse. He also provides a few things to keep in mind when deciding when to file, who should file, and the possibility of increasing surviving spouse benefits.
Recent Changes to Social Security
Finally, Matt discussed the two major changes occurring in social security and whom they affect: the end of Restricted Application and the end of the File & Suspend strategy. If you were thinking of utilizing either of these methods, for the Restricted Application if you turned 62 years on or before 12/31/2015, then you are grandfathered in to this advanced filing strategy. In order to File & Suspend, you have to have currently reached Full Retirement Age, and then you have until April 30th, 2016 to take advantage of this strategy. Please contact your planner if you believe you qualify for either of these tactics. For more information on the changes, please check out this blog.
Overall, this is just a quick teaser of the information you’ll find in the webinar recording below. Watch the video and if you have further questions on what this information means for you, please contact us. We’re here to help you navigate!
Clare Lilek is a Challenge Detroit Fellow / Client Service Associate at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.