Is It Correct That If A Person Files For Their Own Benefits At Age 62, Any Subsequent Spousal Benefits Would Also Be Paid At Their Age 62 Rate?

Apr 19 2019 - 8:38am

Wish to confirm if a spouse starts her own workers benefit at 62 at a reduced rate but her husband who is older waits to claim his workers benefit until she reaches full retirement age, the wife's spousal benefits will still be reduced to the qualifying percentage calculated at the time she first began her workers benefit at 62. Is that correct?


No, that's not correct. In the scenario you present the spouse would retain her own retirement benefits at the same reduced rate, but any additional spousal benefits would be unreduced.

For example, say Bill files for his Social Security retirement benefits this year at age 62. Bill's full retirement age rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA), would be $800, but his reduced age 62 rate is $580. Bill's wife files for her Social Security retirement benefits when Bill reaches his full retirement age (FRA) of 66 1/2, and her PIA is $2000. Bill's spousal benefit amount would be calculated by subtracting his PIA from 50% of his wife's PIA, which in this example would be $200 (i.e. $2000/2 - $800). No reduction would be applicable to the spousal benefit since that benefit didn't start until Bill's FRA. Bill's unreduced spousal benefit would then be added to his reduced retirement benefit to give him a combined monthly benefit of $780 (i.e. $580 + $200).

Best, Jerry