Can My Husband Start Drawing His Own SS At FRA And Later Switch To A Spousal Benefit When I File?

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Feb 26 2019 - 5:45pm

My husband is two years older than me and will reach FRA (66) in September 2019. He has contributed way less to SS than I have, and the SS website shows us that, under any scenario, he will get more by taking a spousal benefit than taking his own benefit. Question is: Can he start receiving his own SS in September 2019 and LATER SWITCH to a spousal benefit when I apply for my own benefits (at my FRA or later)? If so, are there any specific things he has to ask of SS (like restricted application, etc.)? ... BTW I love "Get What's Yours."

Hi,

Your husband couldn't actually switch from drawing retirement benefits on his own record to spousal benefits, but he could file for his retirement benefits first and later file for additional spousal benefits when you file for your retirement benefits. In order to be eligible for additional spousal benefits from your record when you file, your husband's primary insurance amount (PIA), which is equal to his full retirement age rate, would have to be less than half as much as your PIA. And, if your husband files for either his own retirement benefits and/or spousal benefits prior to his full retirement age (FRA), his benefit rate will be reduced for age.

If your husband files for his own retirement benefits at FRA and later qualifies for additional spousal benefits, his excess spousal rate will be calculated by subtracting his PIA from 50% of your PIA. Assuming that amount is positive, he would then be paid the excess spousal amount in addition to his own unreduced retirement benefit, resulting in a combined benefit rate equal to half of your PIA. There wouldn't be any need for your husband to file a restricted application is that scenario.

Before filing for benefits, you and your husband should strongly consider using our software to confirm your benefit rates and to determine your best strategy for claiming your benefits.

Best, Jerry