When Should My Wife Start Collecting Benefits?

Feb 15 2017 - 7:15am

I'm 70 and collecting Social Security. My wife turned 62 last November. Should she wait until she's 70 to collect ? I get $1869 a month. If she collects now, she gets $689/mo; at 66 $904/mo and at 70 $1194 a month. We aren't in desperate need of the money, but 50% of my payment is already above her age 66 payment.

Hi,

That partly depends on when you started drawing your benefits. Your wife could be eligible for essentially the higher of her own benefit rate or 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA), which may be the latter if you started drawing your benefits before full retirement age. If 50% of your PIA is higher than what your wife would receive on her own record if she waited until age 70 to start drawing, she would definitely not want to wait past her full retirement age to file.

Unfortunately, thanks to the 2015 Social Security amendments (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html), your wife no longer has the option to file just for spousal benefits on your record at full retirement age while letting her own benefit rate grow until age 70. She may want to consider using the maximization software available on this website. That will permit her to fully explore all of her potential filing options in order to determine the best strategy.

Best, Jerry