Can I Take My Own Benefits And Later Receive Full Spousal Benefits?

Mar 24 2017 - 7:30am

If before my husband retires I (Doris) take my $4020, can I still receive the full 1/2 spousal benefit when Haydn retires (at 70)? Should/can Haydn claim spousal benefit (1/2, or $2000) from Doris' SS claim when he turns 66? Does SS pay Doris AND me if both of us are alive?

Hi,

I'm not fully clear on what your asking. You must have been born prior to January 2 1954 in order to have the option of filing for spousal benefits only at full retirement age (FRA) without also filing for your own retirement benefits. And, if you take reduced retirement benefits on your own record and later become eligible for spousal benefits, the reduction that you took on your own record continues to apply. And, both members of a couple can receive Social Security benefits to which they are entitled while they're alive.

So, if Doris files for reduced benefits on her own record prior to FRA, she would not receive a full half of her husband's full retirement age rate (PIA) if she subsequently becomes eligible for benefits. If Doris is drawing retirement benefits when Haydn reaches full retirement age, and if Haydn was born prior to January 2 1954, he could file for spousal benefits only and let his own benefit rate grow until age 70.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to sort out and compare all of your filing options.

Best, Jerry