Four Unusual Ways to Boost Social Security Benefits

There are little-known strategies available that may help you decide when you or your spouse should apply. Here's how to get more from Social Security.

Social Security retirement benefits can be an important part of any retirement income plan. Knowing the different options available can provide you with a greater chance of maximizing your benefits. There are pros and cons to each opportunity and what may work for you may not work for your neighbor. Some options that are less well-known are:

  1. The two-claim approach if you're old enough — a strategy that may benefit two working spouses, it involves one spouse claiming spousal benefits at normal retirement age while continuing to work and accumulating higher retirement benefit credits for his or her own account.
  2. Claim early–claim late — a strategy that could be applied if one spouse wants to retire early and collect permanently reduced benefits while the other spouse continues working.
  3. Suspend claim for spousal benefit — a benefit that ended as of May 1, 2016, but some information on the Internet may not have been updated to show this.
  4. The “Do–Over” payback option — available for one year, this might be especially helpful to those filing before normal retirement age and then finding that they can manage without the payments for a few more years, thus getting a higher benefit.

This article covers these claiming strategies in more detail. We also have an article on our website that is kept up-to-date with the latest Social Security claiming rules, and explains the tool we use to evaluate your best claiming strategy.