Is There A Benefit Of Waiting Until Age 70 To Start Drawing My Soical Security?

Sep 19 2018 - 2:47pm

My question is considering the Maximum Family Benefit for situation which includes an adult child with a disability living at home. Specifically my question is if there a benefit to delaying my SSI payments until age 70? If so what are the benefits. I am 62, my wife is 57, and my son is 23 and determined by SSI as permanently disabled since his diagnosis was before 18 years of age. I plan to delay taking my benefits until age 70 which would generate 3699 of monthly income. If I retire now, since my wife is primary caretaker of my son, she is eligible now for 50% of my FULL (66 and 4 month) retirement benefits ( 2889) generating 1445, which is greater than my wife's SSI. My son lives at home and currently receives 1180 per month but would also qualify for 50% of my income when I take SSI which would be higher. However, with every year after my full retirement age the family max seems to eliminate one of the two additional SSI income sources (my wife or my son). Said another way, at 70, my increased SSI income plus 50% of my SSI from one family member brings me to the family max, eliminating the SSI benefit of the third family member. If I retire now at 62 and 4 months my SSI is 2167/mo, and as primary caretaker of my son my wife would be eligible for 50% of my full retirement ssi which is 2889, as would my son. So retiring now would generate 2179+1445+1445 = 5056 of monthly income which also happens to be the family max at this time. However the family max seems to diminish the gains typically received by delaying SSI. Thus the question, what are the benefits of delaying SSI in my situation? Is my assessment correct? Are there things I am overlooking? I suspect many other families may be in a similar situation

Hi,

The argument for waiting until age 70 to start drawing your benefits would be that it would guarantee you your highest possible monthly benefit rate for as long as you live, and that higher rate could transfer to your wife's widow's rate if you die before her. Specifically, assuming that you were born in 1956 your age 70 rate would be roughly 29.33% higher than if you started drawing your benefits at your full retirement age (FRA). Furthermore, the additional 29.33% would not count toward the family maximum benefit (FMB) payable on your record (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615695),

Your analysis is also inaccurate with regard to how the FMB would work if you start your benefits at age 62. Although starting your benefits at age 62 would potentially permit your wife and son to draw benefits on your record sooner (assuming that you are not earning too much for benefits to be payable), your full retirement age rate (i.e. primary insurance amount, or PIA), not your reduced rate, would be subtracted from the FMB before determining the amount remaining to be paid to your eligible family members.

Whether you file at age 62, 70, or anytime in between your PIA is the amount that would counted against the family maximum. So for example, if your PIA was $2800 and your FMB was $4900 then $2100 (i.e. $4900 - $2800) would be available to potentially pay to your wife and son. That's how the calculation would work regardless of at what age you start to draw your benefits. And, if your son's current Social Security benefit amount is higher than what his share of the FMB on your record would amount to, he wouldn't receive any additional benefits from your account.

On the other hand, if what your son is receiving from Social Security is SSI (Supplemental Security Income), then those benefits would be offset by at least all but $20 of the amount of any Social Security benefits for which he starts receiving.

In short, your situation is fairly complicated and you wouldn't want to base important decisions like when to start drawing your Social Security benefits on assumptions about how the Social Security rules work. You should strongly consider using our maximization software to explore and compare your options so that you can determine the best overall strategy for you and your family.

Best, Jerry