Can I Exclude My Wife On My Application?

Dec 19 2016 - 11:45am

I plan to take early retirement @ 62 years of age. My PIA is currently calculated to be 2,000/month at that point. The Family Max looks like it calculates out to 3,500/month. At that point my wife will be 40 and our healthy child will be 8.
If I ask for benefits for both my wife and child, I believe that the extra 1,500 of monthly Fam Benefit would be split between them, leaving each with 750/month.
However, my wife will be earning over 40K yearly and should have her entire benefit wiped out by the Earnings Test.
So, I would like to file for benefits for only myself and my child, excluding my wife. My understanding is that this would allow my daughter's benefit to be 50% of my PIA, so she would receive 1,000/month instead of the 750/month mentioned above.
Am I able to exclude my eligible wife in this way, in order to maximize my child's benefit?

Hi,

Yes, at least more or less. You can't actually exclude your wife's right to apply, but she is under no obligation to do so. All she'll need to do is simply not file for child-in-care spousal benefits. However, if she stops working or her earnings are reduced to the point that she could draw some benefits in spite of the earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html), it would likely be advantageous for her to file at that time.

Best, Jerry