Can My Wife File For Spousal Benefits At Age 64 And Switch To Her Own Record At Age 70?

Jan 27 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry, I am 71 and my wife is 64. Both are retired. I started taking Soc Sec at my FRA, 66. We plan to have her delay taking her own benefit until she reaches age 70.
If my wife, at age 64, filed for a spousal benefit now based on my record, I understand that she would get a reduced amount because she has not reached FRA. BUT, when she reaches age 70 and switches to her own benefit, will that early-draw penalty apply to her own earnings benefit? Thank you, Joe

Hi Joe,

What your proposing is not a valid option. If your wife files for spousal benefits before full retirement age, she'll be deemed to have also applied for her own retirement benefits, and she'll only get essentially the higher of the 2 benefits. And, her benefit rate would be permanently reduced.

Her best strategy is likely to file a restricted application for spousal benefits only at age 66, then file on her own record at age 70. You may want to use the maximization software available on this website in order to determine if that is in fact the best option for her.

Best, Jerry