Can My Wife Get Half Of My Benefit Amount When I File?

Feb 25 2017 - 10:30am

Howdy, I purchased MMSS program and used it to make my decisions. My wife took her ss at 62. At 66, I filed a restricted application and applied for half of my wife's ss. I plan to apply for my ss at 68 (next year, did not want to wait until 70). Can my spouse then apply for ss based on my work hx and receive half? I assume as a widow she would be able to apply for my full benefit.

Hi George,

Your wife can apply for spousal benefits on your record when you file for your retirement benefits, but she'll only be eligible if 50% of your full retirement age rate (PIA) is higher than her own full retirement age (FRA) benefit rate (i.e. the amount she would have received if she had waited until age 66 to start drawing her benefits).

For example, say Jane has a PIA of $800, but files at age 62 and receives $600 instead. When Jane is 66, her husband, Bob, files for his retirement benefits. Bob's PIA is $2000, but he'll receive $2320 because he's starting to draw at age 68. Jane is eligible for an excess spousal benefit of $200 (i.e. 50% of Bob's PIA minus her own PIA), which is then added to her own reduced benefit to give her a combined rate of $800.

If Bob subsequently dies before Jane in this example, Jane would receive his full rate of $2320. She would not receive that rate plus her own though, just a total of $2320. Had Bob waited until age 70 to start drawing in order to receive the full 32% of delayed retirement credits, Jane could have gotten his full rate of $2640 as a widow.

Best, Jerry