Ask Larry

Can My Wife Get Spousal Benefits While My Benefits Are Suspended?

I am 68, not planning to take social security until I am 70. I filed and suspended in February so that my 64 year old wife will be able to take her spousal benefit when she reaches her full retirement age, leaving her benefit to grow until she reaches 70. Her spousal benefit will be only slightly less than her full retirement benefit, as she did not work outside the home while raising our children. I spoke to a Social Security representative this week who advised me that my wife would not be able to file a restricted application for her spousal benefit when she reaches her full retirement age (9 months before I turn 70) if my benefits are suspended. Does this mean for both of us to maximize our benefits, she will have to defer filing her restricted application until I am receiving my benefits. I read your book and found it enlightening. Thank you for looking out for us.


If you filed and suspended your benefit prior to the April 29th (2016) deadline, your wife CAN receive spousal benefits on your account even while your benefits are suspended. Here are the emergency instructions confirming that, which were issued to Social Security employees in February:

So, your wife should go ahead and file a restricted application for only spousal benefits effective with the month she attains age 66.

Best, Jerry

Jul 18 2016 - 12:00pm
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