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A strategy to increase lifetime Social Security benefits by up to roughly $60,000 for some high-earning couples was eliminated by the Obama Administration on Nov. 2. The strategy, known as file-and-suspend, allowed one spouse to file for Social Security retirement benefits and then suspend the payouts, so that the other spouse could collect spousal benefits based on the suspended spouse’s work history.

1. What was the strategic significance of file-and-suspend for retiring couples in addition to what is explained above?
2. What will happen under the new rules?
3. When does the change kick in?
4. What are the costs and benefits of delaying Social Security payments?

Marte, J. (2015) One of the most lucrative Social Security strategies for married couples is being eliminated. The Washington Post, Nov. 3 (Retrievable online at