What Percentage Of My Retirement Rate Will My Wife Receive?

Sep 12 2018 - 4:52pm

I'm planning on retiring at 63, my wife will be 62 and will retire at the same time I do, what percentage will she be able to draw off of my retirement? She has never worked outside of the home.


Your wife's spousal rate wouldn't be calculated as a percentage of your reduced rate. Regardless of at what age you start drawing your benefits, if your wife waited until her full retirement age to start drawing spousal benefits she could receive 50% of your full retirement age (FRA) rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA). However, if either or both of you start drawing your benefits before you reach FRA, the reduction in your benefit rates will be calculated independently.

For example, say Bob turns age 63 in January 2019 and files for his retirement benefits that month. Bob's PIA is $2000, but he receives a reduced rate of $1566 in return for starting his benefits at age 63. Bob's wife Jane turns age 62 on January 2nd 2019 and files for spousal benefits effective with that month. Jane is not eligible for retirement benefits on her own record, so if she waited until FRA to start her spousal benefits she could get a full 50% of Bob's PIA, or $1000. However, since Jane starts drawing at age 62 she receives a reduced spousal rate of $675.

One factor that you may not have considered is that if you do start drawing your retirement benefits at age 63 and you end up dying before your wife, her widow's rate will be limited to the higher of a) your reduced benefit amount, or b) 82.5% of your PIA.

Before filing, you and your wife should strongly consider using our maximization software in order to explore and compare all of your filing options so that you can choose the best possible strategy for claiming your benefits.

Best, Jerry