What Do We Do When My Wife Reaches Retirement Age?

Feb 21 2019 - 9:25am

I became 100 percent disabled at 57. I am married and now am 68 years old. My SS was called a disability l until I became retirement age and now my payment is called SS. The amount did not change just what it is called. I get around 2000 a month. My wife and I raised 3 children and she stayed home to take care of them. They have done well. One lawyer, one nurse practitioner, and one computer engineer. My question is, my wife is 60 years old and I would like to know what to do when she reaches retirement age. We have scraped by for a long time on what I receive. If she could draw something, it would certainly help our day to day bills as everything seems to get more expensive as time goes by. And my SS changes very little.


If your wife waits until her full retirement age (FRA), which would be age 66 & 8 months if she was born in 1958, she would be eligible for the higher of a) her own unreduced Social Security retirement benefits, or b) 50% of your full retirement age benefit rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA). Since you never drew reduced retirement benefits and unless you voluntarily suspended your benefits after reaching age 66 in order to earn delayed retirement credits, your PIA would be equal to your current gross benefit rate.

If your wife didn't pay into Social Security long enough to be insured for retirement benefits based on her own work record, then she'd receive a spousal benefit equal to 50% of your PIA if she waits until her FRA to claim benefits. It sounds like that would amount to a monthly rate of roughly $1000 if your gross monthly benefit rate is $2000. Your wife could file for reduced spousal benefits as early as age 62, but then her spousal benefit rate would be permanently reduced by roughly 33%. You and your wife may want to consider using our software to compare your options in order to determine your best strategy going forward.

Best, Jerry