Last Chance to File & Suspend Social Security Benefits

Last Chance to File & Suspend Social Security Benefits

March 08, 2016
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As you read on our blog last October, the last-minute budget and debt ceiling deal that the House and Senate passed will make changes to Social Security benefits. In an effort to decrease spending, some popular claiming strategies are being eliminated. However, there is still time for some close to retirement to consider the file and suspend claiming strategy.

History of the File and Suspend Strategy

Fifteen years ago, the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act provided an option for “voluntary suspension” of benefits, allowing those taking Social Security benefits to stop receiving payments and earn delayed retirement credits, a practice which was termed “file and suspend.” The new budget deal eliminates this option and removes some other popular claiming strategies.

The file and suspend claiming strategy will be eliminated as of May 1, 2016. The strategy has been popular for some married couples, where one spouse can file and suspend benefits to allow the other spouse to begin claiming spousal benefits while the working spouse continues to accrue credits.

Are You Eligible to File and Suspend?

There is still a chance for those approaching retirement to benefit from the file and suspend strategy, depending on their age. However, they must submit the request to file and suspend before April 30, 2016. Anyone who is 66 or older can file for benefits and immediately suspend them, allowing their benefits to earn additional credits, which may increase their total benefit.

Social Security claiming strategies should always be reviewed with an experienced financial professional to optimize the total lifetime benefit. If you aren’t sure whether the changes apply to you or if you have questions about your social security claiming strategy, call our office at 855.304.3748 or email

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.

About Jeremy Stanley

Jeremy Stanley is the founder of CRNA Financial Planning®. He has been providing advice and guidance for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) for over two decades. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Jeremy has met rigorous certification and professional standards set by the CFP Board. He is committed to adhering to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients. Jeremy is also the author of the book “The Wealthy CRNA,” which lays out a foundational roadmap for CRNAs to help them plan their financial future.  

Jeremy Stanley is a financial professional with and Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, a registered investment advisor. Private Advisor Group and CRNA Financial Planning® are separate entities from LPL Financial.