Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits When I Start Drawing?

Category: 
Feb 16 2017 - 7:15am

My wife is now 65 and has been collecting her social security since age 62. She gets less than $800 per month.
I am planning to collect my Social Security when I reach 62 which will be at the amount of $2000 per month. Can my wife collect half of mine at $1000 per month at that time instead of the $800 which will be at the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018. Since I was born in 55 my normal retirement age is not until 66 and 10 months.

Hi,

Your wife may be able to get an excess spousal benefit when you start drawing, but she'll keep the reduction that she took on her own record to start drawing early.

For example, if your wife is drawing $800 now, her full retirement age rate (i.e. the amount she would have received if she'd waited until age 66 to apply) would have been around $1060. To determine if she qualifies for an excess spousal benefit when you apply, Social Security will start with 50% of your full retirement age rate and then subtract your wife's own full retirement age rate. So, if your full retirement age rate is $2400 for example, your wife could receive an excess spousal benefit of around $140 (i.e. $2400/2 - $1060), which would then be added to her reduced retirement rate of $800. The excess spousal benefit would also be reduced if she starts it before age 66, though.

By the way, full retirement age for people born in 1955 is 66 & 2 months. You may want to run the maximization software available on this website before you apply in order to make sure that you choose the best filing option.

Best, Jerry