Ask Larry

What Is The Downside To My Spouse Claiming Her Own Benefits At 62 And Then Upgrading To Spousal Benefits When I Turn 67?

What is the downside to my spouse claiming work history benefits upon turning 62 then upgrading to spousal benefits when I turn 67? Is there a general rule of thumb as to whether or not it is worthwhile to have her start claiming benefits at 62?

Hi. The potential downside is that your wife would then be stuck with the reduction for age that's applied to her benefit rate for at least as long as both of you are living, even if she later qualifies for spousal benefits from your record. Your wife can't simply claim benefits on her own account at age 62 and then switch to spousal benefits at a later date. Once she applies for her own benefits, those benefits continue for life.

Furthermore, assuming that your wife was born after January 1 1954, whenever she applies for her own benefits she'll be deemed to also be applying for spousal benefits. That means if your wife claims her own benefits early and if you start drawing your benefits before your wife reaches her full retirement age (FRA), then both her own benefit amount and any additional spousal benefits for which she qualifies would then be reduced for age.

It sounds like you and your wife should strongly consider using our software ( to fully compare and analyze all of your various options so that you can determine the best overall strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

May 25 2023 - 2:46pm
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