Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits And Her Own Benefits?

Jan 28 2017 - 7:45am

Dear Larry,
I am 64 years old and began collecting benefits at 62. My wife is 63 years old and plans to wait until at least 66 to collect spousal benefits (i.e. 50% of what I would have collected at 66 years old). This much we understand.
In the Feb. 2017 issue of BottomLine magazine you penned an article called "Get What's Yours" whereby you stated that if a spouse turned 62 before Jan. 2016 he or she can claim both spousal benefits once they reach FTA AND they can also still collect their own social security benefits earned, in effect two payments. Is this true?

Hi Paul,

No, your wife can't get both benefits at the same time. What the article explains is that if she was born before January 2 1954, she could file for spousal benefits only at age 66 (i.e. full retirement age), and let her own benefit rate to grow until age 70. She could then switch to her own retirement benefits at age 70, assuming that her own rate is higher than the spousal rate at that time. Her spousal benefits would terminate when she began receiving the higher benefits on her own record.

You may want to use the maximization software available on this website in order to determine if the above filing strategy is the best option for your wife.

Best, Jerry