If I File On My Own Record At 63, Can I Get Higher Spousal Benefits When My Wife Retires?

Dec 6 2016 - 4:15pm

I am 63 (born in 1953) and my wife is 61 (born in 1955). Her earnings are substantially higher than mine. She intends to continue working to full retirement age (66 and 2 mos). If I retire now on my own earnings record will my benefit amount be increased to my higher spousal benefit when she retires?

Hi,

Potentially, yes, but you'll keep the reduction that you took on your own record to start drawing early.

For example, say your full retirement age benefit rate (PIA) is $800, and your wife's is $2000. If you filed on your own record at age 63, your benefit amount would be reduced to $640. You could then apply for an excess spousal benefit when your wife starts drawing her benefits, and the unreduced amount would be $200, or 50% of her PIA minus your own PIA. Assuming that you become eligible for the excess spousal benefit at or after full retirement age, the unreduced excess spousal benefit would then be added to the reduced rate that you're already drawing on your own record. So, instead of getting a full 50% of your wife's PIA, or $1000 in this example, your total monthly rate would be $840 (i.e. $640 + $200).

Best, Jerry