Ask Larry

Does My Husband Have To File For His Retirement Benefit For Me To Collect My Spousal Benefit?

Dear Larry,

I turned 66 in April. My husband is 64 and still working. We wanted him to file and suspend so that I could get the spousal benefit. But since he is not 66, it appeared I did not qualify. Is that correct? Must I wait for him to retire to get my spousal benefit?

best, Candy

Dear Candy,

Yes you have to wait for him to take his retirement benefit for you to take your spousal benefit. But your husband can file now for his retirement benefit, letting you start just your spousal benefit now, and then when you reach 70 you can take your own retirement benefit. Also, when you become 70, your husband can suspend his retirement benefit and restart it at 70.

Now is the above optimal? This depends on your specific earnings histories and maximum ages of life. You will need to run our software to find out what's best to do. But it's highly unlikely that your particular proposed strategy maximizes your joint lifetime benefits since there are likely tens of thousands of alternative strategies that our program will examine.

Cheers, Larry

Jul 4 2016 - 11:00pm
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