So if we have a couple with an intermediate difference in benefits -- meaning that the lower earner's benefit is about half the higher earner's benefit -- and the situation calls for the couple needing income right away, but you still want to maximize the amount you get back from social security, I might suggest a strategy where you have that lower earner take their money right away, at age 62.The higher earner then files a restricted application at their full retirement age, claiming just the spousal benefit off of their partner. They collect that for four years, so then at 70, they're able to collect their maximum benefit. Now, in the meantime, that lower earner, once they then reach 70 -- because their partner's no longer collecting a spousal benefit -- they have the opportunity to collect a spousal benefit. And if one's available -- again, depending on the earnings differences -- they could add that to their own benefit. This is a pretty good strategy for that couple to consider -- again, who needs income right away, but is also looking to maximize the amount of money they get back.       The above commentary is based on Social Security laws in effect as of July 2014. Congress has made changes to the laws in the past, and can do so at any time in the future. This material is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. The information contained herein is based on current tax laws, which may change in the future. BlackRock cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided in this publication or from any other source mentioned. The information provided in these materials does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice. For more information visit     BLACKROCK is a registered trademark of BlackRock, Inc. in the United States and elsewhere. ©2014 BlackRock, Inc.  All rights reserved. USR-4427 For more on Social Security Spousal Benefits, read Rob’s post about joint-collection strategies. Rob Kron, Managing Director, is the head of Investment and Retirement Education for BlackRock’s U.S. Wealth Advisory group. He provides practical information on topics that are important to every saver and investor of every age. You can find more from Rob here. ©2014 BlackRock, Inc. All rights reserved. iSHARES and BLACKROCK are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc., or its subsidiaries. All other marks are the property of their respective owners