Can I File For Reduced Retirement At Age 62 And Switch To Spousal Benefits Later?

Jan 29 2017 - 3:30pm

I am (40 years) married turning 62 in February 2017. I will have very low SS benefit because I quit working to raise a family but I do have enough credits to qualify. Husband is still working and will be 63 in April 2017. He will retire when he is 66. He will receive the maximum SS payout since his income was high. He is planning to take his SS at 66. (health factors suggests he should not wait till 70 to take benefits).
If I take a my reduced benefit now at 62, can I change my status to spousal benefit (half his benefit) when he files at 66?

Hi,

You couldn't switch to spousal benefits, but it sounds like you'll be eligible for an excess spousal benefit when your husband starts drawing his benefits.

Here's an example to illustrate: Jane's own full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) would be $500, but she starts at age 62 and gets a reduced rate of $375. When Jane is 65, her husband files for his unreduced full retirement age benefit (PIA) of $2500. Jane's excess spousal benefit would be calculated starting with one-half of her husband's PIA, or $1250, minus her own PIA of $500. The difference of $750 would then be reduced to $687 since she'd start drawing it before full retirement age. This reduced excess spousal benefit would then be added to her own reduced retirement benefit, making Jane's combined monthly benefit rate $1062 (i.e. $375 + $687).

Before filing, you and your husband may want to consider using the maximization software available on this website to help you determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry