Ask Larry

If My Disabled Adult Child Claims Benefits On My Wife's Record Now, Will He Be Able To Switch To My Account When I Apply?

I am 65; my wife is 63. My social security (SS) full retirement age PIA benefit is approximately $200 greater than hers. We had been planning on waiting to file for social security until a later date in order to maximize our benefits, especially delaying my filing in order to increase her survivor benefit. We recently learned, however, that our adult child who has been totally disabled since birth could qualify for DAC social security benefits once one of us applies for and receives SS benefits, so one of us will apply for SS now in order to get his SS benefits to kick in as well as to start the clock so that he is eligible for Medicare in 24 months.

I understand that if my wife applies now and receives the benefit for her age and earning history, our son would qualify for a benefit of 50% of her PIA. When I apply for SS at a later date, will our sons DAC social security benefit be based on the higher of the two PIA amounts or will it be frozen at the amount for whomever applies first?

Thanks for your advice.

Hi. Yes, your son can switch from drawing on his mother's account to drawing on your account when you start drawing your benefits, and at that point his unreduced benefit rate would go up from 50% of your wife's primary insurance amount (PIA) to 50% of your PIA.

Your best filing strategy depends on a number of factors, such as your and your wife's expected annual earnings prior to full retirement age (FRA). You also haven't mentioned the possibility of filing for child in care spousal benefits, which may be a good strategy if your son is living with you and your wife. It sounds like you should strongly consider using our software ( to help you determine the optimal filing strategy for maximizing benefits for you and your family.

Best, Jerry

Jun 21 2021 - 2:56pm
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