Can You Take Your Own Social Security Benefits After Filing for File and Suspend?

 In Social Security

Question:

Regarding the File and Suspend feature of Social Security: My husband and I managed to file for this feature before it was eliminated. Now he wants to take his own Social Security full benefits while I continue working. Is it possible for him to collect BOTH his benefit and continue to use File and Suspend? We thought this might be “double dipping,” but one financial planner thought this is possible. Is it?

Response:

I didn’t know the answer to your question, so I asked Nora Yousif who is a financial planner with RBC Wealth Management and my go-to source for difficult Social Security questons. Here’s her response:

First, off, well done on Filing and Suspending. If your husband Filed and Suspended so you could collect a spousal benefit while he is holding off on collecting his personal benefit, his choice to collect his benefit earlier erases the benefit of Filing and Suspending. Depending on his age, you may have benefited from the strategy for a few years.

Alternatively, if you Filed and Suspended so your husband could collect a spousal benefit while you are waiting to collect your personal benefit, again, your husband collecting his personal benefit may defeat the purpose of Filing and Suspending in the first place. Your husband would only be able to collect either the spousal benefit or his personal benefit, not both at the same time. He cannot “double dip” at the same time but the File and Suspend strategy does allow a spouse to collect both forms of benefit at different times…if applied correctly.

It may be worth running the numbers to see which strategy would yield a larger cumulative lifetime benefit for you both.

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