At full retirement age (FRA), one may receive their retirement benefit or a spousal benefit equal to half their spouse’s retirement benefit whichever is larger. Remember to claim that spousal benefit, the spouse on whose record the 50% payment is based must be receiving or have suspended retirement benefits.

If you regret your choice of claim, you can only withdraw your claim and payback benefits within 12 months of your early start.

If you take your retirement early, it not only reduces your retirement benefits, benefits for your survivor are also based on that permanently reduced amount.

A person needs to have been married to an ex-spouse for at least ten years immediately before a divorce is final, in order to be eligible to receive a spousal benefit off a former spouse’s record. If you marry, again you are no longer eligible for a spousal on your ex’s record and a new 10-year clock starts on the marriage to your new spouse. If you are over 60 when you get married again, you will still be able to claim survivor benefits on your ex.

If a worker starts benefits prior to their FRA, and their spouse is receiving retirement benefits, the worker does not get to choose between their retirement benefit and a spousal benefit. They are automatically deemed to have begun their retirement benefit, and if their spouse is receiving retirement benefits, a supplement is added to reach the spousal benefit amount.  All this is reduced for starting early.  The total will be less then half the normal retirement benefits.

New this year, an increase in taxable income can cause a reduction or elimination of subsidies available to lower income households under the new health insurance law.  Social Security payment, even tax-exempt portions are included in this evaluation, SSI excluded.

If you file and suspend Medicare premiums will not be paid from Social Security and must be paid directly to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). If not timely paid, you can lose their Medicare Part B coverage.

Because, the income thresholds that determine how much of one’s Social Security is taxable are not indexed for inflation, over time more and more of the benefits can become taxable.