My question is about filing a restricted application. My 67 year old brother (5/1/1952), currently employed, went to the social security office to file for spousal benefits on his wife's record. She is 72, retired, and has been collecting since reaching FRA. He was told that he was not eligible for spousal benefits because he earns more than $70,000 per year. I have not read anything about an income cap for spouses. Is this new or was someone misinformed? If they were misinformed, is there a specific rule to which he could point?
It certainly sounds like your brother was misinformed. There is no limit on the amount of income you can have, earned or otherwise, and still be paid Social Security benefits once a person reaches their full retirement age (FRA). Your brother's FRA was age 66, so it sounds like he could and should have been drawing spousal benefits since then. If he's just filing now, though, he can only claim benefits retroactively for a maximum of 6 months.
It sounds like your brother should re-contact Social Security as soon as possible and insist on filing for spousal benefits. Or, he could likely file online at ssa.gov, but he'll want to be sure to restrict his application to just spousal benefits only assuming that he plans to switch to drawing his own Social Security retirement benefits at age 70.
Your brother may want to consider using our software to make sure that he chooses the best possible filing strategy.