Can I File For Reduced Retirement Benefits Now, And Get Unreduced Spousal Benefits Later?

Apr 3 2017 - 2:45pm

I am 64, my birthday is 3/3/53. My husband is 64. His birthday is 7/27/52. He will retire on his full retirement age in 2018. My ss retirement benefit right now is $710 a month. At my full retirement age it will be $814. At age 70 it will be $1,075. My husband 's ss retirement benefit at full retirement age will be $2,722. Can I file a restricted application for my benefit now, and then get a spousal benefit when I reach full retirement age in 2019, even though my husband will start receiving his benefit 8 months earlier?
Thank you

Hi,

You could file for reduced retirement benefits now without also filing for spousal benefits, provided that your husband hasn't yet filed for his benefits. And, since you were born prior to January 2 1954 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html), you could then wait until full retirement age (FRA) to apply for spousal benefits, even if your husband files for his benefits between the time you filed for retirement benefits and when you reach FRA. However, if you choose to follow this strategy, you will be stuck with the reduction that you took on your own account for as long as both you and your husband are living.

For example, using the figures cited in your question, if your full retirement age rate (PIA) is $814 but you choose to take benefits early at a reduced rate of $710, the $104 reduction would continue even after you become eligible for spousal benefits. Your spousal benefit rate at FRA would be calculated by subtracting your PIA from 50% of your husband's PIA, leaving $547 (i.e. $2722/2 - $814) going by your figures. This excess spousal benefit would then be paid in addition to your reduced retirement benefit of $710, giving you a combined benefit rate of $1257. Thus, instead of getting a full half of your husband's PIA, you would get $104 less per month instead.

You and your husband should strongly consider using the maximization software available on this website in order to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry