Social Security Matters

Ask Rusty – Restricted Application

by AMAC-Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor

Dear Rusty: I am 66 years of age and have not yet claimed Social Security because I want to wait until I’m 70 and get the higher benefit. My wife, who is 68, is already collecting her benefits having started when she reached her full retirement age. One of my friends said that he had filed something called a Restricted Application a few years ago and was collecting spousal benefits now, but when I called my local Social Security office they said that the Restricted Application was no longer available. It just irks me that my friend can do this but I can’t. Have the rules actually changed? Signed: Unhappy about changing rules.

Dear Unhappy: We get this question fairly often now since The Bipartisan Budget Act was signed into law in October of 2015. Under the old rules, if a person first filed for benefits on or after their full retirement age (FRA) and their spouse was already collecting benefits, they could file a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits Only. That enabled a person whose partner was already collecting benefits to receive spousal benefits only, while allowing their own retirement benefit to accumulate Delayed Retirement Credits (DRCs). DRCs accumulate up to age 70 when the filer can then collect up to 132 percent of their primary insurance amount, (or PIA – their benefit from their own work record at full retirement age). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 broadened a rule called “deemed filing,” which states that whenever anyone applies for Social Security benefits they are deemed to be filing for all benefits they are entitled to, e.g., both their own retirement benefits and spousal benefits. The old rule said “deemed filing” applied only to those applying for benefits before their FRA; the new law broadened that rule to include all beneficiaries, effectively eliminating the Restricted Application for spousal benefits only. But there is an important exception, which applies to you.

The new law broadening the “deemed filing” rule provided an exception for anyone who turned 62 years of age by the end of 2015 (actually by January 1, 2016 since they consider anyone born on the first of the month to be eligible for benefits in the previous month). Since you are now 66 and were born before 1954, you qualify for that exception and are therefore entitled to file a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits Only, collect only spousal benefits based on your wife’s work record, and at the same time let your personal benefit from your own work record earn Delayed Retirement Credits. You can continue to earn DRCs up to the time you reach 70 years of age, at which time you can file for benefits on your own work record and receive about 132 percent of your primary insurance amount. Further, at that time your wife who is already collecting benefits would be entitled to switch from her own benefit to a spousal benefit equal to half of your PIA, if that amount was higher than her own benefit. So you can see how, if you are still entitled to use it, the Restricted Application works well as a strategy for maximizing benefits. Used typically, the lower earning spouse files for retirement benefits first and the higher earning spouse files a restricted application for spousal benefits only. This allows the high-earning spouse’s benefit to grow as indicated, which would be especially important for your wife’s survivor’s benefits, should that be the case.

So it would appear that whoever you spoke with at the Social Security office was not aware of the exception I’ve cited above, which is why we always recommend you seek a second opinion when dealing with the Social Security Administration. Because you turned 62 before the end of 2015, you are definitely entitled to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only and allow your personal benefit to grow. If you don’t get that answer from someone in the Social Security office, ask to speak to a supervisor, or supervisors, until you find someone who knows about the exception. If you apply online, be sure to expressly state in your application that you are filing a “Restricted Application for Spousal Benefits Only.”

The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed in this article are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues.

To submit a request, contact the Foundation at info@amacfoundation.com.

Facebook Comments

Website Comments

  1. Ashlie Alcini

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful information particularly the last part :) I care for such information much. I was looking for this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.|

  2. Oma Laughlin

    excellent submit, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!|

  3. Doretha Labrake

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?|

  4. Jerilyn Corish

    Incredible! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Great choice of colors!|

  5. Abdul Luchetti

    I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing! Thanks!|

  6. Young Guiao

    Wow! In the end I got a webpage from where I be able to actually get useful information concerning my study and knowledge.|

  7. Joye Feenstra

    Hi, I think your web site may be having web browser compatibility issues. When I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great site!|

  8. Linnie Ferouz

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks|

  9. Leena Huckstep

    Greetings I am so happy I found your site, I really found you by error, while I was browsing on Digg for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a remarkable post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the great job.|

  10. Sherman Mcmasters

    I got this site from my pal who told me on the topic of this website and now this time I am visiting this web page and reading very informative content at this place.|

  11. Gregory Lundemo

    Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!|

  12. Dannielle Coykendall

    whoah this blog is magnificent i really like studying your posts. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of people are looking around for this information, you can help them greatly. |

  13. Martin Transue

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this brilliant blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!|

  14. Janessa Kirsch

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking at your web page again.|

  15. Robyn Garrahan

    I think the admin of this site is truly working hard in favor of his website, as here every data is quality based stuff.|

  16. Tamra Kaminska

    I am now not sure the place you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or figuring out more. Thank you for wonderful info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.|

  17. Luigi Rusert

    I really like what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and exposure! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.|

  18. Haywood Yanoff

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read more things about it!|

  19. Alden Vanblarcom

    I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.|

  20. Silva Turansky

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I hope to offer one thing back and help others like you aided me.|

  21. Hiram Noblitt

    I pay a quick visit every day some sites and blogs to read content, however this webpage offers quality based content.|

  22. Johnnie Rotolo

    Somebody essentially assist to make severely articles I might state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and so far? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this actual publish amazing. Wonderful process!|

POST A COMMENT.