Can I File For Divorced Spousal Benefits Even If My Own Rate Would Be Higher?

Oct 29 2018 - 5:13pm


Just read your article in Forbes "Up To 13 Million 64.9 To 68-Year-Olds May Be Missing Out On Free Social Security Spousal Benefits". Thanks for the insightful info. Your Maximize My Social Security Software looks great and I'm sure will provide great info. I do have a specific question. I do fall into the grandfathered age group to qualify for the Divorced Spousal Benefit. I'm currently 66 and don't plan to claim in benefits until i'm 70. My questions is... can I still claim half of my spouses benefits now even though my benefit (if I took it now) would be greater than 50% of hers. It's seems like I read that might disqualify the ability to claim the spousal benefit.

Any info would help and I look forward to accessing your software.

Thanks again so much for your valuable information!


Hi Tim,

Yes, since you were born prior to January 2 1954 you could file just for divorced spousal benefits only at your full retirement age (FRA) or later and allow your own retirement benefits to grow until age 70. As long as you haven't yet filed for your own retirement benefits, it doesn't matter whether or not that benefit rate would be higher than your divorced spousal rate. You would, of course, need to meet the eligibility requirements for divorced spousal benefits, which are listed in the following section of Social Security's handbook:

It sounds like you're probably on the right track by planning to claim divorced spousal benefits first and then switch to your own higher retirement benefits at age 70, but our software can tell you for sure.

Best, Jerry