Ask Larry

If I Don't Return To Work Will I Still Get My Projected Age 70 Rate?

I suffered a work injury in a fall! I’m 68 years old! I am not collecting social security yet, trying to wait to age 70! If I don’t return to work, do I still get my projected amount at age 70 or do I get what I’m projected at right now? Also my wife is disabled and getting $766 a month now! Would she still get 50 percent of my amount once I apply?

Hi. I'm sorry to hear about your injury. If you don't return to work, your Social Security retirement benefit rate will still be credited with delayed retirement credits (DRC) for each month that you don't collect benefits prior to age 70. So, your projected age 70 rate should still be accurate unless your estimate is based in part on assumed benefit increases that would result from your future earnings that don't materialize because of your injury. But, if you start drawing at age 68 instead of age 70, your benefit rate would be 16% lower because of the DRCs you'd lose.

Your wife must be at least age 62 to potentially qualify for spousal benefits once you start drawing your benefits. And, she couldn't get half of your age 70 rate. The highest benefit rate that your wife could qualify for is the higher or her own benefit rate or 50% of your primary insurance amount (PIA). A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA). However, if your wife claims spousal benefits prior to her full retirement age (FRA), then her spousal rate would be reduced for age and would amount to less than 50% of your PIA.

It sounds like you should strongly consider using our software ( to fully compare and analyze all of your various options so that you can determine your best strategy for maximizing benefits for you and your wife.

Best, Jerry

Mar 21 2023 - 12:34pm
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