I have a disabled adult son. My wife is turning 66 in August and we were planning on him applying for child benefits on her retirement record. I am turning 66 next year and my retirement benefit will be much higher than hers so my question is can he switch his child benefit to 50% of my retirement benefit if he is already collecting on my wife's retirement benefit?
Can you explain how "spousal child-in-care" benefits work? I've read about them but not sure how they fit in with child benefits and spousal benefits.
Yes, if your son starts out drawing disabled adult child's (DAC) benefits on his mother's record he could switch to DAC benefits on your record when you file for your retirement benefits. He can only draw whichever benefit is higher, though, not both. His benefit rate would be calculated at 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA), but his benefit rate could be reduced due to the family maximum benefit if you file for spousal benefits.
Child in care (CIC) spousal benefits and basically the same as regular spousal benefits, except that you can potentially qualify for CIC benefits at any age. And, CIC benefits are not reduced for age if you start drawing them prior to full retirement age. To qualify for CIC spousal benefits you must have a child under age 16 or a disabled adult child who requires assistance in your care. To see if you could potentially qualify for CIC spousal benefits, refer to the following sections of Social Security's operations manual: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0301310035 & https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0301310040.
It sounds like you and your wife have several different filing options to consider, and the calculations needed to determine your best strategy are rather complex. You should strongly consider using our maximization software to compare all of your options and determine the best overall strategy for your family.