Take Note: Social Security and Medicare Benefits Changing in 2016

Posted in Social Security

Claiming Social Security Twice is Eliminated

Prior to 2016, some married individuals who were 62 or older had claimed Social Security retirement benefits twice. Previously, a person whose spouse was at full retirement age and was herself or himself at an early retirement age, age 62 to 65, could claim spousal payments and then switch to payments based on their own work, which would then be higher because they were claiming it at an older age.

As of this year, however, workers who turn 62 in 2016 or later will not be able to claim both types of payments, but instead one or the other. However, the younger spouse can still claim spousal benefits when he or she turns 66, and those individuals will continue to contribute to their own Social Security Retirement benefit until age 70, thereby receiving a higher benefit when they begin to receive their full retirement benefits 4 years later.

Stricter Rules for Suspended Payment of Benefits

In May 2016, the rules have changed for suspending your Social Security Retirement benefits until a later date when they would be higher, and this process will no longer be permitted. Previously, spouses and dependent children could claim payments based on your work record while your benefits were suspended and continued to grow.

This option is no longer available, however, as of May 2016. You will no longer be allowed to “file and suspend.” If the retired worker’s benefits are suspended, spousal and dependent benefits will not be paid.

Higher Medicare Part B Premiums for some Social Security Recipients

Most Social Security recipients will pay the same Medicare Part B premium in 2016, as they did in 2015. That amount is $104.90 per month. Increases in Medicare Part B premiums are tied to increases in Social Security benefits due to cost-of-living adjustments which did not occur this year. However, those individuals who are enrolling for the first time in Medicare Part B this year will pay a higher premium of $121.80 per month.