Marriage can make life easier, but not when it comes to Social Security.
A single person only has to consider nine different scenarios when claiming retirement benefits. For married couples, the available options for filing strategies grow to 81.
"The Social Security shopping mall has 81 stores for married couples," said David Freitag, a financial planning consultant at the MassMutual Financial Group.
"One size fits one with Social Security planning. It really needs to be tailored to each couple," he added.
Here's what you should consider when developing your game plan:
Generally speaking, for singles, the longer you wait to claim benefits, the more you'll receive. Claiming before your full retirement age, which ranges between 66 and 67 depending on when you were born, permanently reduces your benefits. Each year you delay from your full retirement age until you turn 70 will boost your benefits by 8 percent.
Most people file before they can receive their maximum Social Security benefits. (See table below.)