Should My Wife Start Collecting Now?

Aug 1 2020 - 10:45am

My wife is 64 and I am 65, I am waiting until 65 And 2 months to collect my full SS. I have the larger amount coming (est $3,000) per month next April. My wife’s SS if she started collecting now would be about $500 per month
Should she start collecting now?
Or should she wait until she is 66 +
When I start to collect next April, how will this affect her SS if she is collecting

Thank You
R D

Hi R D,

I assume that you mean that you plan to file at age 66 & 2 months, not 65 & 2 months. Full retirement age (FRA) for people born in 1955 is age 66 & 2 months.

Your wife must make her own decision on when to claim her benefits, but if she starts drawing either her own benefits or spousal benefits before FRA her benefit rate will be reduced for age. If she files for her own benefits at age 64, the reduction for age applied to her own benefits will continue even if she later becomes eligible for spousal benefits. And, her application for her benefits would be deemed to also be an application for spousal benefits, so she'll be required to claim her spousal benefits as soon as you claim your benefits. And, if that's before she reaches FRA, her spousal rate will also be reduced for age.

For example, say Jan files for her benefits this year at age 64. Jan's full retirement age rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA) is $500, but her rate is reduced for age to $422. When Jan turns 65 her husband files for his benefits with a PIA of $3000. Jan's unreduced excess spousal benefit would be calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of her husband's PIA, which in her case is $1000 (i.e. $3000/2 - $500). But, since Jan is only age 65 her excess spousal rate is reduced for age to $888. Jan would then receive both reduced benefits for a combined rate of $1310 (i.e. $422+$888).

You and your wife should strongly consider using our software to analyze your options so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry