The End of the “File and Suspend” Social Security Strategy

Social security

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 – signed into law on November 2, 2015 – will eliminate the “file and suspend” option for receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits.

Generally, delaying the receipt of benefits past “full retirement age” results in increased benefits once they start paying. The file and suspend strategy allows one spouse (Husband, or “H”, for example) to file for benefits upon reaching full retirement age, but suspend his actual receipt of benefits. By filing, this allows the other spouse (Wife, or “W”, for example) to take one-half of H’s benefit, while delaying filing on W’s own record. That way, both spouses can enjoy the increased benefit down the road – because both have delayed receipt of their own benefits – while one spouse still receives Social Security Retirement on the other’s record until that time.

The budget deal will eliminate this strategy to the detriment of potential recipients, but according to some, to the benefit of the Social Security Retirement system overall:

New Budget Deal is Cutting Your Social Security Benefits and It’s a Good Thing (

Also, check out this article about where the new law leaves seniors:

The State of File and Suspend (

Image © chuck –


About Sarah R. Watchko, Esq.

Sarah R. Watchko is an attorney practicing estate planning and elder law in Atlanta, Georgia


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