Explain: What Are the Restricted Applications for Social Security Benefits?

Susan Kelly

Oct 08, 2022


How can you optimize your Social Security income? "Restricted application" is one such method. For people born on or after January 2, 1954, the right to file a restricted application for Social Security benefits was modified by legislation passed into law in 2015. Social Security offers a wide variety of payouts. The Social Security Administration will know that you are not applying for all your benefits at once if you submit a "limited" application. Limiting your application's reach is another name for this. Only one sort of benefit can be requested using a restricted application. People who want higher-paying benefits than they would get through other options frequently resort to this strategy.

Restricted Applications and Spousal Benefits

Let's say a spouse is claiming FRA and is born before January 1, 1954. They can put RIB on the application's blocklist if they want to. However, when the spouse is covered by RIB insurance, these claimants should file for RIB even if they receive a smaller payout, according to the "deemed filing" provision. An ex-spouse must be 62 years old, but they need not have filed for divorce or retirement benefits just yet. If you file for benefits before FRA, you will lose the flexibility to change whatever benefits you receive later.

Who Does a Restricted Application Work Best For?

To be sure, the Restricted Application technique isn't right for every marriage. Generally speaking, the following describes a person who can submit a restricted application for Social Security:

  • Pair who have tied the knot
  • One partner must have been born before January 1, 1954.
  • Spouses born before 1954 are preferred since they receive a bigger pension.
  • As a result of their individual histories in the workforce, they can each receive their retirement pension.
  • Still, neither partner has begun receiving their benefit.

Restricted Applications When Caring for a Child

When one spouse cares for a child under 16, the other may choose to limit their benefits. Limiting your benefits to your spouse (regardless of age) and those paid to your spouse for caring for a child is possible. A kid receiving child-in-care benefits typically ceases receiving them after they turn 16. There is no alternative way for you to collect Social Security payments if you are under 62 years old, but your child can still qualify. If you or your spouse are 62 or older, you can choose to apply for benefits now, at FRA, or later.

Restricted Applications and Widow(er) Benefits

The Social Security Administration requires a statement on the application to rule out a decreased RIB. If your spouse or ex-spouse has passed away, you may be entitled to a widow(benefit )'s based on their work history. Even if you haven't attained FRA just yet, you'll have more leeway to narrow the focus of your application. It's of no consequence what year you were born in. It's possible to do this if you want to collect a widow's (benefit )'s for a long period while letting your benefit continue earning delayed retirement credits. Transitioning to your own (higher) benefit amount would be possible once you turn 70.

Other Considerations

Often, a Social Security calculator can provide the type of analysis required if you are married or a widow(er). If you use this tool, you can figure out which strategy for claiming Social Security benefits is ideal. Some claimants prefer to consult a legal professional for guidance on how to proceed, given the complexity of the requirements. Working with a professional could be beneficial if your situation is particularly complicated, such as if you have dependents. These several ex-spouses may be qualified for disability benefits or something else along those lines.


When calculating your Social Security benefit, there are other considerations to evaluate than seeking to maximize your payout. In particular, you should consider your family medical history and other stable income sources. Delaying Social Security can be a good option if you have other secure means of income that can easily pay your living expenses. If your health is poor, you should probably start collecting Social Security benefits sooner rather than later. However, if you come from a long-lived family, you may be able to catch up on lost payments after a delay. In this scenario, you might consider postponing benefits until age 70 to have a larger lifetime income.

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