My wife was born May 6, 1953 and I was born May 2, 1955. Neither of us is currently receiving retirement benefits (RIB) or spousal benefits (SIB) and I don't intend to file for my RIB before my FRA on July 2, 2021 (and possibly not until age 70). I thought that my wife could file a restricted application now (effective as of her FRA) based on my earnings record. We went into a SS office and I was told that she could not file a restricted SIB application because I have not filed a RIB. Is this correct?
Yes, what you were told by the Social Security office is correct. Even though your wife was born prior to January 2 1954 and could therefore potentially file a restricted application for spousal benefits only at her full retirement age (FRA) or later, she could not do so unless and until you start drawing either Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
In addition to a number of other factors, the best filing strategy for you and your wife depends largely on your relative benefit rates. You should strongly consider using our software to explore and compare your various options in order to determine the best overall strategy for claiming your benefits.