Am I Correct That I Can Begin Taking Spousal Benefits At Age 62 Without Any Effect On My Future SS Benefits?

Jul 31 2018 - 10:11am

I am 62 (born 6/13/56) and my husband is 76 and on SS. Am I understanding correctly that I can begin taking a spousal benefit without any affect on my future SS benefits, or any effect on my spouses continued benefit?


No, your understanding is not correct. If you file for spousal benefits you will also be deemed to be filing for your own Social Security retirement benefits. And, you will only receive what is essentially the higher of those 2 rates and your benefit amount will be reduced for age if you apply before your full retirement age.

For example, say Jane files for Social Security spousal benefits at age 62. Jane hasn't filed for her own benefits yet, but she's insured for retirement benefits based on her own earnings history. Jane's full retirement age rate (PIA) is $900, and her husband's PIA is $2000. Jane's unreduced spousal rate would be calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of her spouse's PIA, which in this case would be $100 (i.e. $2000/2 - $900). And since Jane is eligible for retirement benefits on her own record she must file for those benefits when she files for spousal benefits. If she files at age 62, her reduced retirement benefit rate based on her $900 PIA would be roughly $663, and her reduced spousal rate at 62 would be roughly $68. Thus, Jane would receive a combined benefit rate of around $731 if she files at age 62.

In our example above, if Jane's PIA exceeded 50% of her husband's PIA she would not be eligible for any spousal benefits. If and when you do file for spousal benefits, though, it would have no effect on your husband's benefit rate.

You should strongly consider using our maximization software in order to compare all of your various options and determine your best possible strategy for claiming your benefits.

Best, Jerry