The moment you file for your retirement benefit you will forfeit forever the ability to file for any other benefit just by itself—with the exception of widow(er) benefits for spouses who were widowed before taking their retirement benefit.

What are these “other” benefits? Spouses are entitled to a spousal benefit equal to up to half your spouse’s full retirement benefit. And divorced spouses are entitled to a spousal benefit based on their ex’s earnings record. These are often referred to as auxiliary benefits. If you file for your own retirement benefit and are eligible for one these, you will forever lose the ability to collect these auxiliary benefits.

Now, this sounds terrible but means little to most retirees thanks to the changes in social security law a few years ago. Before the changes, you could file for just a spousal benefit while delaying your own personal benefit. However, the law eliminated that loophole for anyone turning 62 after January 2, 2016. If your one of the lucky few who turned 62 before then you may want to consider taking just a spousal benefit while postponing (and earning delayed retirement credits on) your own retirement benefit.

Questions about when to file for social security? Call us at 888-510-2362.