Ask Larry

Does Drawing Spousal Benefits Impact My PIA?

I have applied for social security to begin in 02/2022 when I turn 70. When I reached my FRA in 2016, I applied for my spousal benefits. Do spousal benefits impact my PIA? I received the Social Security Notice of Award, it did not include any COLAs after my spousal benefits began. I have manually determined my PIA as of my FRA and it's the same as what they told me it was back in 2018. I have called them and they said COLAs are only for people receiving the benefits. I know that's wrong and want to submit an appeal. Can your software provide a report that I can use to submit with my Form SSA-561-U2? I did it manually to see if it's worth proceeding with the appeal. If I purchase the software, will I have to enter my husband's info since he is already collecting social security? Thanks.

Hi. No, collecting spousal benefits has zero effect on your own primary insurance amount (PIA). PIAs are automatically updated to include any cost of living (COLA) increases that occur after a person reaches age 62, so it's hard for me to believe that your retirement benefit rate doesn't include the recent COLAs. And, by the way, such COLAs are credited even if the person isn't drawing yet drawing their benefits. So, what the Social Security employee with whom you spoke told you is incorrect. In any event, though, if you believe that your benefit rate is incorrect then you can file an appeal.

Our software ( has a benefit calculator that would allow you to get an accurate calculation of your benefit rate, but the reports that it provides aren't specifically designed to be submitted with an appeal request. And, no, you wouldn't have to enter any information about your husband in order to calculate your own Social Security retirement benefit rate.

Best, Jerry

Nov 19 2021 - 4:25pm
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