Can My Wife Suspend Her Benefits And Collect On My Record?

Mar 25 2017 - 6:45am

I'm 71 and my wife is 70. We both started collecting at 65 based on our individual work records. I collect $2000 and she collects $500. Can she suspend her benefits and collect on mine, and I as I now realize that we made a terrible mistake by not doing so originally. Thanks!


Your wife can't suspend her own benefits, nor would she want to, but she can file for an excess spousal benefit on your record. What she could then receive is the difference between a) her own full retirement age benefit rate (PIA), and b) 50% of your PIA. Assuming the difference is positive, this additional benefit would then be added to the payment that she already receives on her own record.

Benefits after full retirement age can be paid retroactively for no more than 6 months, so your wife will probably want to contact Social Security to apply for spousal benefits, or make an appointment to file, before the end of the month. Even if she only makes an appointment to apply, it will establish a protective filing date and prevent a further loss of potential benefits.

Best, Jerry