Can My Wife File For Retirement Benefits Now And Spousal Benefits When I Retire?

Mar 8 2017 - 7:45am

My wife will be 65 in May and has work some during the last 30+ years, her SS report her benefit at approx. $400/mo. I am 59, I am the high earning spouse. Can she apply for her benefits now and then when I retire at 66 or 67 reapply spousal benefits?


Yes, but if she starts drawing her retirement benefits prior to full retirement age, she'll keep the reduction that she takes even if she later becomes eligible for additional spousal benefits.

For example, say Jane has a full retirement age rate (PIA) of $400, but she starts drawing at age 65 and receives a reduced monthly rate of $373. Then, 6 years later her husband John files for his benefits. John's PIA is $2000, so Jane becomes eligible for an excess spousal benefit of $600 (i.e. 50% of John's PIA minus Jane's PIA). That $600 excess would then be added to Jane's reduced retirement benefit to give her a combined monthly benefit of $973. Had Jane waited until full retirement age to start drawing her retirement benefits, her combined rate would have been $1000.

Best, Jerry