Thank you for your response. I purchased your software and have worked out multiple scenarios. A couple of points I need to clarify. I understand that if my husband files for early retirement, my disabled son (receiving SSI) is actually required to file for DAC benefits. I was unaware of this. Am I also required to file for Child in Care Benefits once my husband files? Or do I have a choice? If not, then my son would be eligible to receive his full DAC benefit rather than having it reduced by MFB if I, too, were collecting. Is that correct? Can I, at any time in the future decide I want to file for my Child in Care Benefit, thereby reducing my son’s DAC benefit accordingly? Conversely, if we all file for our benefits, can I at a later date stop or suspend my Child in Care Benefit? Would my son’s DAC benefit be increased accordingly at that time?
Second question: In your response below, you mention that my potential widow’s benefit (if my husband files at age 62) would be limited to the higher of a) my husband’s reduced benefit rate or b) 82.5% of his PIA (which would be the higher of the two. The representative at the Social Security office stated that my widow’s benefit could never be higher than my husband’s reduced benefit. Which is correct?
Thank you for your help.
I can only give you general answers since I don't have access to customer data. You may want to resubmit your question using an online contact form available in the software's help menu so that you can get a personalized answer from one of our experts with access to your data.
You aren't required to file for child in care spousal benefits, and you could apply at a later date if you choose not to apply initially. There is a 6 month limit on retroactive benefits, though, so it's possible that a delay in filing could result in a loss of benefits. If you do file for benefits, you could withdraw your application later but you would have to repay any benefits you've already received. You couldn't simply choose to voluntarily stop drawing benefits after you've started to draw them, although until you reach full retirement age your benefits could be involuntarily suspended if you work and earn more than the amount allowed under Social Security's earnings test (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html). To determine what effect your filing for benefits would have on your son's benefit rate you should use our software or ask one of our experts with access to your data using an online contact form.
If your husband files for reduced retirement benefits prior to his full retirement age (FRA), your potential widow's rate would be capped at the higher of his reduced rate or 82.5% of his PIA (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615320).