How file-and-suspend ended: Here’s the back story


When President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act into law this week, he changed Social Security’s retirement benefits with a stroke of his pen. The law makes changes in two Social Security claiming maneuvers – “file and suspend” and “restricted claims” – that have become the foundation of a loophole strategy that married couples could use […]

Budget deal will end Social Security file-and-suspend strategy


The budget deal moving quickly through Congress would put a stop to a lucrative strategy that can boost lifetime Social Security retirement benefits by hundreds of thousands of dollars. File-and-suspend is a variation on the more straightforward strategy of delayed filing to earn a higher monthly benefit down the road. It permits married couples to […]

Social Security’s file-and-suspend feature is on Washington’s hit list


File-and-suspend is hot. The once-obscure Social Security strategy for married couples has become almost mainstream in the past couple of years; a growing number of financial planners recommend the strategy to clients. But you’d be well-advised to get it while you can: file-and-suspend is at the top of Washington’s hit list for changes to retirement policy. […]

No Social Security COLA for next year: Here’s what it means


Update: Congress and The White House reached a tentative budget deal the week of October 26 that includes a provision blunting the 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums discussed below. If the deal is signed into law, Part B premiums for the 30 percent of beneficiaries not held harmless would rise from the current […]

Medicare premiums to jump in 2016, but Social Security benefits stay flat


Retirees are facing a double-whammy next year: no inflation adjustment in their Social Security benefits and a whopping 52 percent jump in certain Medicare premiums. The Medicare premium hikes will hit only 30 percent of beneficiaries – those who are not protected from a “hold-harmless” provision in federal law that prohibits any premium hike that […]

Supreme Court same-sex ruling opens the door for Social Security’s valuable spousal benefits


Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will give a huge boost to the retirement security of LGBT Americans. That will be especially true in the realm of Social Security – where it pays to be married. The ruling will affect everything from access to spousal pension and retirement accounts, health benefits and more. […]

When life events intervene in your retirement plan


Financial plans typically assume a normal retirement age in the mid-60s or beyond, but life events have a way of intervening. Half of all retirees say they left the workforce earlier than planned, according to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The key culprits include health problems or disability […]

How Social Security could help fix retirement inequality


  Americans need bigger retirement nest eggs, there is no doubt about that. More than half of us have saved less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Policy experts often point to such figures to underscore the looming retirement security crisis, and proposals have been flying this year from Republicans and Democrats […]

What’s the future hold for Social Security field offices?


Will you be able to go to a Social Security office 10 years from now for help claiming your benefits? Probably — but a new report from the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlining its vision for future service delivery has some critics worried about the future of the agency’s face-to-face customer services. A report issued […]

Advice about maximizing Social Security from the guy who wants to end it


I had a chance today to hear Larry Kotlikoff speak about his best-selling book Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and founder of Economic Security Planning, Inc, a financial software company that created, one of a handful of premium software tools for optimizing […]