Should My Wife Be Able To Apply For Spousal Benefits Online?

Apr 5 2019 - 12:12pm


I'm at FRA, born 3/12/53 and have filed for retirement benefits just in the last week. - March 29th.After running our options through your software, my wife, also at FRA (born 1/13/53) is planning to take restricted spousal benefits now as well. I just called SSA and was told that she couldn't do this online, she had to make an do it by phone (otherwise it will start her her full retirement benefits) and it could take a couple of months to get an appointment. In a previous SSA call (the person then seemed much sharper than this last person) I was told she could apply online and that in the Remarks section to add (as you mentioned in a previous answer here) say: "I wish to exclude retirement benefits on my own record from the scope of this application."

Do you have any additional insight into this? My sense is that this last person who said we needed to do this by phone didn't have the right information.


Hi David,

As a general rule it's possible to apply for spousal benefits online, however, their are various exceptions. I don't know of any exceptions that would apply in your wife's circumstances, but there could be some reason of which I'm unaware.

I think it would be safe for your wife to at least try filing online, as long as she makes sure to restrict her application to spousal benefits only. There is a question on the online applications that asks: 'If you are eligible for both retirement benefits and a spouse's benefit, do you want to delay receipt of retirement benefits.' Your wife would answer that question 'yes' in order to restrict retirement benefits from the scope of her application. It also wouldn't hurt to add a remark like the one you quoted in your question.

Best, Jerry