Is It True That I Shouldn't Wait Past Full Retirement Age To Collect Spousal Benefits?

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Mar 26 2017 - 10:45am

Thank you in advance for answering my question. My husband has been legally blind since age 50 (2008) and started on SS disability. We had planned that I would not apply for my spousal benefit until age 70 (my personal benefit would be less than half of his) but we were told by SS that since he is already on SS disability that there is no financial benefit for me to wait beyond age 66. Is this true and if so are there any options that we could use to maximize my benefit?

Hi,

Yes, there would be no advantage to you waiting past full retirement age (FRA) to file for spousal benefits. Delayed retirement credits (DRC) can only be earned to increase the rate of retirement benefits payable on a person's own record, not spousal benefits. Your spousal benefit rate would be the same whether you start drawing at age 70 or at FRA. So, it sounds like you would simply be leaving money on the table if you don't start drawing your spousal benefits at FRA.

As far as whether or not you have options available to maximize benefits, if you were born prior to January 2 1954 you could file for spousal benefits only at age 66 and accrue DRCs on your own record until age 70. Then, if your own retirement benefit rate is higher at age 70 than your spousal rate, you could switch to drawing on your own record. You may want to run the maximization software available on this website in order to determine your best strategy.

Best, Jerry