When Would Be The Best Time For Me To File?

Dec 31 2016 - 10:30am

I turned 62 on 12.05.2016 and we are trying to decide when I should take my retirement benefits. I am healthy and quite active though no longer working. My husband is 80, 8.13.1936, and took his benefits early, at 62. It appears from the print out from SSI office that there is no case where taking spousal benefits makes sense since my own benefits are always greater. My husband is 18 years older and has had serious heart issues though is now stable and very physically active. It is quite possible, according to him, that he may die before I am 66 or 70. I did read what you had written about RIB-LIM and from what you said that may affect when I should start to collect. I also came away from the SSI office unsure if when I start collecting will freeze the level of my potential widow's/survivor's benefits. On the print out I got they are always larger than my own benefits. We do have some other investments & money, but determining the best point to take my benefits is confusing. Thank you, Alice

Hi Alice,

Your potential survivor benefit rate will not be affected by when you start drawing your own Social Security benefits. But, since your husband took his Social Security benefits at age 62, your potential widow's benefit rate would be limited to no more than 82.5% of his full retirement age rate (PIA). And, as long as you are at least age 62 & 4 months or older at the time of his death, you'd be eligible for the 82.5% of his PIA.

As for deciding when you should apply for your own benefits, you may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website. That would permit you to run various 'what-if' scenarios based on your expectations of your and your husband's life spans, so that you can decide for yourself what filing strategy to use.

Best, Jerry