When Should I Apply For Benefits?

Feb 2 2017 - 2:45pm

I'm 9 years older than my spouse and they have been a very high earning executive. I worked years ago (meeting all the SS contribution/distribution requirements) but haven't worked (volunteered) for nearly the last two decades. How do I time my spousal benefit, which I'm sure will be higher than my retirement benefit? I will hit 70 before spouse can file and suspend either at 62 or 67. Will I be able to get the larger maximum spousal benefit at age 76 even though I would have had to start taking distribution at age 70, if not earlier if the math works better?

Hi,

If your own retirement benefit rate would be less than 50% of your spouse's full retirement age rate even if you waited until age 70 to start drawing, it would likely be advantageous for you to file for your retirement benefits no later than at your full retirement age (FRA). You could still file for an excess spousal benefit as soon as your spouse starts drawing, but not before then. If you file on your own record at FRA and then for an excess spousal benefit when your spouse starts drawing, your combined monthly rate will be equal to 50% of his full retirement age rate, provided that your own rate isn't higher than that.

You may want to use the maximization software available on this website in order to make sure that you choose the best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry