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Can My Wife File Early Based On My Earnings And Delay Filing For Her Own Benefits Until Age 72?


I'm 50, my wife is 43. We have a 5 year old child. My FRA is 67, at which point she will be 60. I would like I to delay filing for social security until 72 to let it max out, and then claim it. At that point, she will be 65, 2 years short FRA. Can she file for early retirement against my earnings, delay filing against her own SS until 72, and then switch over to that to get the max amount?

I'd like for both of us to retire at 60, which means my wife would be working for 7 years after I retire. We both have a 401, IRA and Roth IRA. I also have a cash balance plan "pension" (which isn't much). Currently, our combined total balance is about $615K (we contribute annually). We also have a 529 Plan with about $35K (and I contribute $5-$6K/year). My (conservative) projections show that if I retire at 60, our combined balance will be about $2.2M, and my wife will be making about $140K/yr. Projections show that if we live off her salary, when she retires at 60, our combined balance will be in the neighborhood of $4M, with an individual balance total of about $2M/each.


Hi SW. First of all, you can only accumulate delayed retirement credits (DRC) up until the month you reach age 70. So, you wouldn't want to wait past the month you reach age 70 to claim your Social Security retirement benefits, nor should your wife assuming that her own benefit rate is higher than her potential spousal benefit rate.

The only way that your wife could file for spousal benefits without claiming her own benefits at the same time is if she has a child in her care who is eligible for benefits on your account AND who is either under age 16 or is disabled. Otherwise, your wife would be deemed to be filing for both spousal benefits and her own Social Security retirement benefits whenever she applies for either benefit. She'd then be paid essentially only the higher of the two benefit rates, and her benefit rate would be reduced for age if she starts drawing prior to her full retirement age (FRA).

You and your wife should strongly consider using our software ( to fully analyze all of the options available to you in order to determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Sep 3 2021 - 1:23pm
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