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RE: Bipartisan Budget Act 2015
By Gary Case

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was signed November 2nd. Common filing strategies currently offered will no longer apply starting in 2016.

This presents you with an opportunity to make sure you understand how you may be impacted by these changes. Continue to rely on Cornerstone Financial Planning, LLC as your source for Social Security information, strategies, and how to best work with your clients. Below is a summary of the recent changes.

File and Suspend:

• Currently: A filer who is at or past Full Retirement Age (FRA), can file for individual benefits, but suspend receiving them and allow a spouse or dependent to collect off of their record.

• Through April 30, 2016: Anyone 66 or older can still file and suspend to allow an eligible spouse or dependent to collect a benefit off their record under the old rules.

• After April 30, 2016: “File and suspend” will no longer enable a spouse or dependent to collect benefits off of the filer’s record, unless the filer takes a benefit. For a spouse or dependent to collect a benefit, filers must collect their own benefit and forgo delayed retirement credits. If an individual suspends benefits, all spousal and dependent benefits will be suspended.



Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits

• Currently: A spouse who is at or past FRA, and who has not received any benefits, can choose:
---- A spousal benefit only (referred to as a Restricted Application).
---- His or her own individual benefit.

• Anyone 62+ by the end of 2015: Is grandfathered and retains the ability to restrict their claim to spousal benefits only if they wait to collect until they reach their FRA.

• After year-end 2015: Individuals who are younger than 62 will not have the choice of which benefit they collect when they reach FRA. Regardless of their age, they will be “deemed” to have filed for the highest benefit. They will no longer have the option to restrict their benefit to their spousal benefit only.

Lump Sum Voluntary Reinstatement of Benefits:

• Currently: An individual who files and suspends can request that all suspended payments be paid in a single lump sum.

• Through April 30, 2016: Individuals who will be at least age 66, and want to utilize this strategy, will need to file and suspend benefits.

• Individuals who file and suspend benefits after April 30, 2016 will no longer be able to request a lump sum payment of all suspended benefits.

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