Is It True That My Mother Can Receive 6 Months Of Back Pay Of Spousal Benefits?

Mar 27 2017 - 6:00am

Hi Larry,

My father Carlos is 70, and started collecting SS benefits at 62 (retired early). My mother Phyllis will be 67 in April this year, and she is currently working part-time, and does not collect SSN. My parents were advised from a local SS office that since my father is already earning on the SS benefit, but my mother is still working, as long as she doesn't file for individual SS benefits, she is entitled to the "Spousal Benefit", at least up until she files independently. My main question is the following: the agent also shared that my mother would be eligible to receive a lump-sum retroactive payment/refund of 6 months Spousal Benefit: is this accurate? My parents completed the request for the retroactive payment about a week ago, but have not heard back or received funds, and are wanting to know if this was accurate information, and if it was, is there any more information available online that is comparable to their specific scenario? Thank you.


Yes, that information is correct. Since your mother filed more than 6 months after reaching her full retirement age of 66, she can be paid up to 6 months back pay of her spousal benefits. And, there would be no advantage to not taking the back pay since her spousal benefit rate would be no higher if she waited to start drawing the benefits. Spousal benefits due not accrue delayed retirement credits if you wait past full retirement age to start receiving them.

Your mother's best strategy is likely to continue drawing spousal benefits until at least age 70, at which time she can switch to her own record if her own retirement rate benefit is higher than her spousal rate at that time.

Best, Jerry