cool Social Security benefits tricks are going away

With the "Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015", signed by President Obama on November 2, two clever methods of maximizing Social Security benefits for married couples are going away.

The so-called 'File and Suspend' method required the higher-earning spouse to claim benefits at their full retirement age, and then suspend the benefits until a later date.  Suspending the benefits until later allows the benefit to grow while simultaneously allowing the other spouse to make a Social Security claim based on the higher-earning spouse's record rather than their own.  The new law disallows this trick (some call it a loop-hole) starting April 30, 2016.  Here's a Washington Post article on the topic.

The new law also elimated the "Restricted Application" method of claiming Social Security.  This method allows someone to claim benefits on their spouse's record, allowing them to keep their own benefits accruing until the last possible time to claim.  Very similar to "File and Suspend" but has it's nuances.  I like the examples of the differences between the two given here.  This method is disappearing for anyone born after 1954.  For those 61 andyounger, you will now have to apply under both your own record and your spouses, and take the better deal.  No more mid-stream switcheroo.