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How the bipartisan budget act may impact your retirement

On April 27, 2016

As of November 2, 2015, President Obama signed, and thereby enacted into law, the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2015 which includes significant changes to social security benefits. These changes include the phasing out of filing strategies referred to as “unintended loopholes” created previously by Congress back in 2000.

Regardless of when you plan to retire, these changes can affect the retirement plan you’ve developed for yourself and your family, as the act prohibits the use of strategies traditionally utilized to maximize benefits. If you did not turn 62 by the end of 2015, these Social Security changes will affect you. Here are the two main changes coming down the pipeline:

1. Restrictions on spousal benefits. Before the BBA, if a beneficiary reached full retirement age, they were able to restrict their application to spousal benefits only so that their retirement benefits could continue to accrue.

However, under the new law, this will no longer be an option. Your spouse cannot collect their benefits unless you collect yours at the same time. No matter what age you are when you apply for benefits, you will have to take the highest benefit you’re eligible for, whether it’s a retirement or spousal benefit.

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