When Should My Wife And I File For Benefits?

Mar 21 2017 - 8:00am

My birthdate 7/14/53, my wife's 8/27/53. My estimated benefit at full retirement $2527, wife's $1268. Wife retired last year, I expect to retire at age 65, preferably about a month before I turn 65. No rush to collect, long life expectancies. Should she start collecting now? At age 66? When I retire? Or at age 70? Should I take a spousal benefit on her account? I am assuming I should wait until I turn 70 to collect on my account, correct?

Separately, what is the deal on Medicare for the six weeks when I am 65 but she is not? I am currently on employer medical insurance. Will I need Cobra for six weeks?

Thanks.

Hi,

You have numerous filing options available to you. Both you and your wife were grandfathered under the new deeming rules passed by Congress in 2015 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html), so either of you could potentially file for spousal benefits only at age 66 and let your own benefit rate grow until age 70. Only one of you can do that, however, since one spouse must be drawing their own benefits in order for the other spouse to qualify for spousal benefits. But, if you want to maximize your monthly rates, it may be best for both of you to wait until age 70 to start your own benefits.

You should strongly consider subscribing to the maximization software available on this website. That way, you can explore all of your filing options and decide on the best strategy for you and your wife given your goals and expectations.

With regard to Medicare, you will first be eligible on 7/1/2018, and your wife will first be eligible on 8/1/2018. Medicare eligibility starts with the first day of the month in which you attain age 65. So, if your employer health coverage runs through the end of July 2018, there shouldn't be a gap in your coverage.

Best, Jerry