Recent Social Security Claiming Changes

Enacted last November, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-74) covered many diverse topics including changes to Social Security rules.

The legislation closed two Social Security benefit loopholes used primarily by married couples for claiming retirement and spousal benefits. Used by only a small fraction of retirees, these loopholes were referred to as “file and suspend” and “deemed filing.”

The use of these strategies developed over years and allowed some couples to obtain additional benefits that Congress did not intend, and were contrary to the goals of the Social Security program.

The legislation is prospective for new beneficiaries, not those already receiving benefits.

For an overview of the changes, see the March 14 post of Social Security Matters, the official agency blog.

More details are at the Retirement Planner section of the Social Security website. Related links are on the right of the Retirement Planner page. For more, scroll down to “Already near retirement age” and then go to the “suspending retirement benefit payment” page and family benefit pages.

You can read the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 here. Clearly showing Congressional intent, the area concerning Social Security is in Title VIII – Social Security, Subtitle C – Protecting Social Security Benefits, Section 831- Closure of Unintended Loopholes.