Can I File For Spousal Benefits At Age 66 And Then On My Own At Age 70?

Mar 14 2017 - 6:45am

Hi, Larry,
I'm a big fan of your Get What's Yours! book, the revised edition of which I bought last year...but I didn't see the answer to my own situation below:

My wife, who will turn 66 (full retirement age) in Autumn 2020, has been receiving Soc. Sec. disability payments for some time. I’ll turn 66 (full retirement age) in Spring 2019. We’re aware that if her Soc. Sec. disability payments continue until she’s 66, the monthly amount would become her age 66 ‘full retirement’ benefit going forward.

I’m planning to wait until age 70 (2023) to file for Soc. Sec. benefits under my own earnings record, given my relatively longer working career/higher monthly benefits.

I know that 2015 changes to Soc. Sec. filing/eligibility rules, among other things, eliminated file-and-suspend for my age group. But I'd like to file a restricted application to receive spousal benefits (based on my wife’s earnings) until I turn 70, after which I’d re‐file under my own earnings record going forward. Is this option still available to me? If so, would I have to wait until *my wife* reaches full retirement age (66), or can I file a restricted application when *I*reach age 66?

Thank you for any guidance.

Hi,

Yes, since you were born before January 1 1954, you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only when you reach age 66, and let your own benefit rate grow until age 70.

You don't have to wait until your wife reaches age 66 to claim spousal benefits, although it's possible that your spousal benefits could be affected by the alternate family maximum formula used for disability accounts until your wife reaches age 66 (https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/dibfamilymax.html).

Best, Jerry