Married clients typically are eligible for two Social Security benefits: one on their own work record and one on their spouse’s record. When they take their benefits—and whose benefit they claim—can make a significant difference.

One possible technique is to obtain a “free spousal” benefit. “This is the most common strategy that most couples are missing out on,” says Daniel Shub, who heads a financial planning firm in Troy, Mich. “I have done it with many clients.” Shub says that this tactic can increase their lifetime benefits by thousands of dollars.

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