Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits If She Took Reduced Benefits On Her Own Record?

Mar 15 2017 - 11:30am

My wife is older than I am by 7 months. She started receiving SS retirement benefits when she was 62. I am now at full retirement age (in 3 months). Her current benefits are way less than my estimated benefits, in fact less than half. Can she now get spousal benefits based on my earnings record? Will there be some reduction because she already has been getting benefits on her own work record?


Your wife may be eligible for an excess spousal benefit when you start drawing your benefits, but she'll be stuck with the rate reduction that she took on her own record.

For example, say Jill is eligible for a full retirement age benefit (PIA) of $800, but she decides to start drawing at age 62 and receives a reduced rate of $600 instead. Jill's husband, Jack, has a PIA of $2000 and files for his retirement benefits when Jill reaches her full retirement age. Jill's excess spousal benefit would be calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of Jack's PIA, resulting in a rate of $200 (i.e. $2000/2 - $800). This excess spousal benefit would then be added to Jill's reduced retirement benefit of $600 to give her a combined rate of $800.

Best, Jerry