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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

My spouse and I both worked. How can we use the claim and suspend strategy to maximize our benefits?

En español | When you reach 66, file for Social Security, then immediately suspend those benefits.

If you do this, your future benefits will increase about 8 percent for each year you wait. For example, waiting four years until 70 (when the annual increases top out) would mean that a $1,000-a-month benefit would rise to $1,320. Meanwhile, when your spouse reaches their full retirement age, they can apply for a spousal benefit based on your work record, because you've filed. At 66 they will get 50 percent of what your basic payment would have been. When they reach 70, they can file for retirement benefits on their own record. Like yours, they will have grown by 32 percent over what they would have been at 66.

Typically, the first member of a couple who reaches full retirement age files first. But if your spouse's benefits are greater than yours, they should consider being the first to file in order for you to get the larger spousal benefit.

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