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layers of blue tops of Social Security cards (Photo: Shutterstock)

There’s a secret to maximizing Social Security benefits that’s not readily apparent on the agency’s website or by calling its 1-800 number, says Boston University economics professor and author Laurence Kotlikoff.

“For example, if someone has prostate cancer at 68, it can be a huge mistake if they take benefits immediately if they have a wife who didn’t have much of an earnings history,” Kotlikoff says. “By taking benefits early, the husband would be permanently reducing his wife’s survivor benefit by 16 percent.”

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