You can boost your annual Social Security benefit through a fancy strategy often referred to as delayed filing.
Your Social Security Benefits are calculated using a formula called the primary insurance amount, or PIA. The way it works is that people who wait to start receiving Social Security until their full retirement age (currently 66) receive 100 percent of PIA.
On the other hand if you take your benefits early at 62, the first year of eligibility, you only get 75 percent of PIA Filing later means higher social security payments for life. Of course, if you don’t last that long, it may not have been such a wise move.
However, there is a way to boost lifetime benefits for married couples.Here is how to do it. The spouse with the higher PIA (typically the man) files for benefits at his full retirement age, then immediately files a notice to suspend payment of those benefits. That permits the lower-PIA spouse to file for a spousal benefit, which is equal to half the husband’s benefit.That gets some social security payments flowing to the household. In the meantime the husband continues to accrue higher benefits until he files to start payments.
The increase in benefits is 4-8% per year for delaying taking them. In addition, there is no longer an increase once you hit 70.
When the husband finally files for benefits, the wife converts to her own full benefit.
The end result is that the couple benefits from higher individual benefits for the rest of their lives. If the husband dies first, the widow then converts to a survivor benefit, which is equal to 100 percent of her spouse’s benefit.
The benefit can be as much as 10-20%.
The delayed filing strategy allows married couples to start receiving some benefit to meet living expenses while they wait to get more later.