File and suspend was an extremely popular strategy for people to increase their Social Security benefits, but as of April 29, 2016 it is no longer an option. That has left people reaching retirement age wondering if there are any options they can use to increase their benefits.
Investopedia recently discussed two options in "Alternative Strategies to File and Suspend."
The first option is known as a restricted application. This is a limited option allowing those whose spouses have already filed for Social Security benefits to receive a spousal benefit while allowing their own benefits to continue increasing. However, this option will only be available for another eight years and it is limited to people who turned 65 years old before the end of 2015.
The other option is to carefully plan when you will start taking benefits to maximize your total lifetime benefits. This is a sound strategy, but imperfect.
To take full advantage of it you would need to know precisely how much longer you will live. In the absence of that knowledge your family history, health and lifestyle can be used to determine your chances of living longer than normal. The longer that you are expected to live, the longer that you should delay starting Social Security benefits to get the most that you can out of the system.
Contact a financial planner to help your run the numbers.
Reference: Investopedia (May 18, 2016) "Alternative Strategies to File and Suspend."