Ask Larry

What Benefits Are My Wife And I Eligible For?

I immigrated in my sixties and am a US citizen. I started working in US at age 62 and have been paying social security taxes. Now I am 73 and have 40 credits . When I visited SSA recently I was told I can apply for retirement benefits but they are not sure about the spousal benefits saying my earnings are far too less. I did not put in my application yet . My latest Social Security statement also does not show spousal benefits but indicates survivor benefits for spouse. My wife has not been working.
Q1. Is my wife eligible for spousal benefits?
Q2. Am I eligible for delayed withdrawal benefits since I am 73 now?
Thanks, Sebastian Joseph

Hi Sebastian Joseph,

You should probably file for benefits as soon as possible. You should be eligible starting with the first month of the calendar quarter in which you earned your 40th credit. If you file your application more than 6 months after that, you will be losing out on benefits. Your benefit amount will be no higher if you delay filing. Delayed retirement credits (DRC) are not earned until you become fully insured, nor after age 70. Since you apparently earned your 40th credit after age 70, you likely aren't due any DRCs.

If your wife is not eligible for higher benefits on her own account or on someone else's record, she should be eligible for spousal benefits if and when she meets all of the requirements. Refer to pages 8 & 9 of SSA's pamphlet ( for more information.

Best, Jerry

Jul 3 2016 - 3:45pm
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