Most experts say deferring Social Security payments for several years will maximize recipients' benefits. But spousal benefits provide an exception to that rule. A married person can claim half of his or her spouse's benefit, and if it's done at the right ages, the benefit recipient can still get his or her full benefit later. A 2009 study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimated that nearly $10 billion in spousal benefits is unclaimed each year.

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