Should My Wife Take Social Security Benefits Now?

Dec 30 2016 - 11:15am

I started receiving SS benefits last year when I was age 68 and 2 months, hastened by a cancer diagnosis, even though I continue to work full-time. My gross monthly SS amount is $$3,105.60. My wife has the requisite quarters to be eligible for SS in her own right (she retired at age 35 when we married). She is now age 62 and 1 month but has not filed for SS. Doesn't it make sense for her to start drawing down now her SS, which at her current age would be $1,013? If I predecease her, which is likely, won't she be "wasting" the social security to which she is entitled, based on her wages, since my monthly amount far exceeds that to which she would be entitled in her own right? Is there a better option for us, assuming I predecease her?


As is the case with most Social Security questions, the answer depends on how long you and your wife live. Larry cautions against using break-even analysis to make Social Security filing decisions, and instead encourages people to plan on living until 100.

That said, if you are certain that you will not live beyond about age 84 due to health problems, then it would likely make sense for your wife to start drawing benefits now. Before making any final decisions, though, you may want to run the maximization software available on this website. That will allow you to run various 'what-if' scenarios, so that you and your wife can decide for yourselves on the best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry