Ask Larry

Is The PIA A Static Number?

Please answer two questions that likely have been answered, perhaps in many places, but are not clear to me:

I will be 69 in August, and am thinking of filing for benefits beginning then. My wife of 40 years is 65, and will be at her FRA of 66-1/2 in June, 2024.

I currently have delayed benefits, including COLA additions, that are greater than what my PIA was, or would have been on the day of my FRA when I turned 66.

Ignoring for the moment any reductions if my wife files for spousal benefits before her own FRA , and assuming 50% of my benefit is more than all of her own benefit, will the spousal benefit be based on a new, recalculated amount that I'm eligible for on the day I claim, or on the old PIA as of my FRA.

I suppose the underlying question is whether or not the PIA is a static number, or does it increase with time after my FRA?

A second question: will my spouse's benefit be locked in if she claims early, or can it increase to the full 50% of my PIA once she reaches her FRA?


Hi. No. A person's PIA is initially established in their eligibility year, which is the earlier of their a) year of death, or b) year of disability onset for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits, or c) year of attainment of age 62. All Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLA) that occur after the person's eligibility year increase their PIA, regardless of whether or not they or anyone else is collecting benefits from their account.

A person's initial PIA can also be increased if they work and earn more in a year than they did in one of the years that were previously used to calculate their benefit rate. Again, that's true regardless of whether or not they've started collecting benefits.

Your wife's unreduced spousal benefit rate will be calculated based on 50% of your PIA at the time she claims spousal benefits. Any reduction for age she takes for starting benefits early is permanent, although the reduction would not carry over to her survivor benefit rate if you die before her.

You and your wife should strongly consider using our software ( to fully compare and analyze all of your various options so that you can determine the best overall strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Apr 19 2023 - 10:47am
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