Can I File And Suspend My Benefits So That My Wife Can Draw Spousal Benefits?

Category: 
Mar 11 2017 - 6:30am

The more research we do the more confused we become on filing for SS. The financial advisers seem to be unclear or avoid the direct question I want to ask. But here goes. I am 66 and my wife is 65, can I still go to SS offices, file and suspend, and can my wife go the the SS offices and file for spousal benefits? She has worked all her life, but her benefits will be less than mine, so the plan is for me to wait until 70 so she can draw more social security benefits when I pass. Thank you for looking into the matter. Background: we both draw a monthly pensions, and have saved $300,000 in various 403B and IRA accounts (which we consolidated several years ago with one firm).

Hi,

The answer is no, thanks to the Social Security amendments passed by Congress in 2015 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspendfaq.html). If you suspend your benefits after April 29 2016, no one else (except divorced spouses) can draw benefits on your record during the suspension. Furthermore, if your wife filed for spousal benefits prior to age 66, she would be forced to also file for her own benefits and both benefit rates would be reduced.

What is likely your best strategy would be for your wife to file on her own record either now or at age 66, and for you to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only on her record. You could then switch to your own record at age 70, and your wife could apply for an excess spousal benefit at that time. This is only my best guess, though, so you should strongly consider using the maximization software available on this website in order to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry