What Do You Think We Should Do?

Dec 13 2016 - 2:00pm

Husband 63 yesterday. I turned 62 in Nov. Fortunate that both could take early retirement effective 1/1/2012 from our jobs. Hoping husband will claim at 66, but he too is thinking of claiming early. I was tempted to claim in Nov when I turned 62, but held off. I understand best for husband to wait as long as possible for claiming SS (higher SS check for him and widow benefit for me if he passes away). I am not clear why it's important for me (wife and lower earner) to not claim at age 62. I know the longer you wait the more money you receive each month; however, if I claim now I have more money in bank (already lost a month of benefits by waiting) plus if husband passes away before me, my SS check would increase automatically. Therefore, it seems to me he should wait for larger benefit (FRA), but I could apply now. Your thoughts please. Thank you


What might be the best plan would be for you to file on your record when your husband reaches age 66, so that he can file a restricted application for spousal benefits only on your account at that time. He could then draw 4 years of spousal benefits while letting his own benefit rate grow until age 70, at which time it would reach it's highest point. The delayed retirement credits (DRC) that your husband would earn by waiting until age 70 to start drawing on his own record may also benefit you if he dies first, since DRCs carry over to widow's benefits.

By the way, this strategy is still available to your husband because he was born prior to January 2 1954, and was thus grandfathered under the new deeming laws passed by Congress last year (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

What you should strongly consider doing is running the maximization software available on this website. That will permit you to run unlimited what-if scenarios, so that you can evaluate the effects of the various different filing strategies that are available to you and your husband.

Best, Jerry