The elimination of file-and-suspend claims became effective on May 1, 2016. It prohibited restricted applications for anyone who had not reached age 62 by the end of 2015. Since file-and-suspend was only available to those who had reached full retirement age, it remained available to individuals who were age 66 by April 30, 2016. (Couples who had already executed such claims are unaffected by the new law.)²
The reason that Congress acted, and the President signed into law this change, was to save money and close perceived loopholes in the Social Security program.
Overall savings will be small compared to the larger financial challenges that Social Security faces. These changes will save about 0.02 percent of the taxable wages and self-employment income subject to Social Security taxes over the next 75 years, according to the Social Security Administration — a fraction of the program’s long-term deficit of 2.65 percent of taxable payroll.3 ³
According to one study, these changes will impact just 0.1 percent of all Social Security participants.⁴