If My Wife File For Her Benefits At FRA Can She Also Apply For Spousal Benefits When I Start Collecting My Benefits?

Jan 10 2021 - 4:00pm

Hi Larry,
My question pertains to spousal benefits. I was born in 1955 and my wife's birth year is 1960. My Social security will be $3095 at FRA and hers will be $905. I intend to collect my SS at maximum age 70 years. If my wife, applies for her SS at FRA, can she also apply for spousal benefits when I start collecting my increased SS when I turn 70? If so, will her benefits be sum of her initial amount plus half of mine ($3095). Thank you


Whenever your wife applies for either her own benefits or for spousal benefits, she'll be deemed to be filing for both benefits. If you're already drawing your benefits when she files, what she'll receive is her own benefit rate plus an excess spousal benefit. The unreduced excess spousal amount would be calculated by subtracting your wife's own primary insurance amount (PIA) from 50% of your 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).

If your wife waits until FRA to claim her benefits and if you're already drawing your benefits at that time, she'll receive her full PIA plus an excess spousal benefit equal to the difference between her own PIA and 50% of your PIA. Her resulting combined benefit rate would then be equal to a full 50% of your PIA. However, if your wife files for benefits prior to FRA her benefit rate will be reduced for age. And, that reduction would continue to apply for as long as both of you are living.

You and your wife may want to strongly consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to fully analyze the options available to you in order to determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry