I am confused regarding restricted application. I am retired and 67, and planning to defer my social security til 70. My wife is 61 and still working. Can i file for restricted application now? Or would i have to wait til my wife reaches full retirement age (66.5), or even 62? Or not eligible at all?
Filing a restricted application refers to the process of applying for one type of Social Security benefit without also applying for other types of benefits. This is necessary in certain circumstances because most Social Security application forms are considered as applications for ALL types of Social Security benefits for which the applicant qualifies, even if the person only intended to file for one type of benefit.
People are only allowed to restrict their applications to a single type of benefit if they meet certain requirements. For example, people born prior to January 2 1954 are allowed to file only for spousal benefits without also being required to file for retirement benefits on their own record, but only if they apply at their full retirement age (FRA) or later. People born after January 1 1954 are not permitted to file for spousal benefits without also applying for their own benefits regardless of their age at the time of filing, unless they are caring for an eligible child of the worker on whose record they apply.
So, since you were born prior to January 2 1954 and are past your FRA you could potentially file a restricted application for spousal benefits only while still allowing your own benefit rate to grow. However, your wife would have to be drawing her benefits in order for you to qualify for spousal benefits. Your wife must be at least age 62 in order to claim her Social Security retirement benefits, and even then if she continues to work and earn more than the Social Security earnings test exempt amount (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html) both her benefits and your spousal benefits could be subject to full or partial withholding until she reaches her FRA.
Your best strategy depends on a number of different factors, so you and your wife should strongly consider using our maximization software to sort out all of your options and determine your optimal strategy.