How Can My Wife And I Maximize Our Benefits?

Feb 26 2017 - 7:30am

My wife who was born in 1953 will be FRA in June of 2019. She has no real work history and will be eligible only for spousal benefits when I draw them. I am 3 years younger as I was born in May of 1956. If I apply for my benefit when she turns 66 (her FRA) and I am 63 will she recieve 50% of my draw at 63 or 50% of my projected benefit that I would have received at my FRA? What would be my best stategy to maximize our total benefit over the years?

Hi,

If your wife is at least age 66 when she becomes eligible for spouse's benefits, her benefit rate will be 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA) even if you take a reduced benefit. However, if you file for benefits prior to full retirement age and continue working, both your own and your wife's benefits may be subject to partial or full withholding if you earn too much (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking2.html).

Your best strategy depends on a number of variables, and particularly on your and your wife's maximum life expectancies. You may want to run the maximization software available on this website to help you determine the best strategy.

Best, Jerry