How Would My Future Spousal Benefit Be Calculated If I Take My Retirement Benefits Now?

May 14 2019 - 11:54am

I was born in 1955. I know I am under the new law deeming that I apply for all my benefits. But I am unclear about my spousal benefits if I take my retirement now and my spouse is still working. My spousal benefit would be higher than my retirement benefit. Thank you


If you file for your Social Security retirement benefits before you're first eligible for spousal benefits you will be deemed to have filed for spousal benefits effective with your spouse's initial month of entitlement to either Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Any reduction for age applicable to either benefit would be calculated independently based on your age at the time you first became entitled to that benefit.

For example, Jane (DOB 1/2/1955) files for her retirement benefits effective with January 2017. Jane's full retirement age rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA), is $800, but she receives a reduced age 62 rate of $593. In January 2019, Jane's husband files for his Social Security retirement benefits with a PIA of $2000. Jane's unreduced spousal rate is calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of her husband's PIA, which would be $200 in this example (i.e. $2000/2 - $800). However, since Jane is age 64 when she first qualifies for spousal benefits her spousal rate is reduced to her age 64 rate of $163. That amount would then be paid in addition to Jane's reduced retirement benefit, giving her a combined rate of $756 (i.e. $593 + $163).

You and your husband should strongly consider using our software to fully explore and compare your various options so that you can choose the best possible strategy for claiming your benefits.

Best, Jerry