What You Need to Know About the New Laws for Claiming Retirement Benefits

Have you heard that some of Social Security’s rules about claiming benefits are changing? Well, it’s true. The Bipartisan Budget Act that passed last November closed two complex loopholes that were used primarily by married couples. We want you to know why this happened, how it might affect you, and what you should do next.

But first, don’t forget that one of the best ways to increase your Social Security retirement benefit is to delay claiming it between ages 62 and 70. Each month you delay results in a higher monthly benefit for the rest of your life. The new law doesn’t change this.

The new law closes loopholes that allowed some married couples to receive higher benefits than intended. Only a small fraction of retirees used these loopholes. Closing them helps restore fairness and strengthens Social Security’s long-term financing.

So what’s changing with the new rules?

  • First, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retiree and as a spouse (or divorced spouse), you must start both benefits at the same time. This “deemed filing” used to apply only before the full retirement age, which is currently 66. Now it applies at any age up to 70, if you turned 62 after January 1, 2016.
  • Second, if you take your retirement benefit and then ask (on or after April 30, 2016) to suspend it to earn delayed retirement credits, your spouse or dependents generally won’t be able to receive benefits on your Social Security record during the suspension. You also won’t be able to receive spouse benefits on anyone else’s record during that time.

For more information about these changes in the law, please visit Recent Social Security Claiming Changes and Retirement Planner.

Deciding when to start your Social Security benefits is a complex and personal decision. You may contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or visit your local field office, to speak with a representative about your retirement options. In particular, if you are or will be full retirement age (66) or older before April 30, and you think you want to suspend your benefits, contact us as soon as possible before April 30. But remember, if you want to let your retirement benefit grow, you can simply delay taking it, up to age 70.


1,078 thoughts on “What You Need to Know About the New Laws for Claiming Retirement Benefits

  1. I filed and suspended benefits. Now I turn 70 this month and need to have my benefits paid. What do I do?

  2. I started collecting at age 62, now I am 67. I would like to work part time, how much can I make working part time before Social Security starts taking money out of Social Security.

  3. Family law is concerned with the protection and the rights and responsibilities of parents, spouses separating, spouses getting divorced, whether or not there were children involved in the relationship, or children of the marriage. Parental rights, spousal rights, and responsibilities, are all governed by the law in the Calgary family courts. You can go it alone; there is no requirement that you be represented by legal counsel to go to court. However, Calgary Family Lawyer Calgary Family Lawyer has the years of university training, the on the job practical experience of being in court, and then seeing what the judges of the court are looking for in having handled numerous cases, all of that experience can be put to work for you.

  4. My cousin had worked for a company for over 30 years.
    He is now 68 and living outside the U. S. for 17 years.
    He had a domestic violence involving his wife and left the country. Can he be able to receive his retirement benefits?

    • Hi Carlos, thank you for your question. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or access your my Social Security account online. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet.

      Even though someone may be unable to create a my Social Security account, they may still file a Social Security application online. Your cousin can apply online for retirement benefits if he:
      •is at least 61 years and 9 months old;
      •is not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
      •has not already applied for retirement benefits; and
      •wants his benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future. (We cannot process applications more than 4 months in advance.)

      We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefit Unit or U.S. embassy in the area for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad.

  5. clients were born before 1954 and did file-and-suspend under the old rules. She suspended her benefit and he collected a spousal benefit on her record. She was the lower wage earner. She is 70 and is now receiving her full benefit. Should he, the higher wage earner, still be collecting his spousal benefit based on her FRA until he turns 70?

  6. I just started my SS benefits in Dec. 2019. I will be receiving a check this month. I had just turned 62. My husband just found out that I could claim his retirement and I would receive quite a bit more. Can I still do this? My husband is still working and this his his 2nd., job out of retirement, and he will be 65 in Sept. Hopeful, he will retire in August of this year. I or we, do appreciate your help.


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