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What Will My Wife's Spousal Rate Be If I Start Drawing My Benefits At FRA?

My wife took Social Security at 62 with FRA at 66 years 8 months. Her initial monthly payment was 720 with a PIA at that time of 1009. Her DOB is 9-16-58. My FRA is 66 and 6 months with DOB of 2-26-57. I expect to wait to draw my Social Security at my FRA. What will my wife’s spousal benefit be at the time I start Social Security at my FRA ? My Social Security online projects my PIA to be 3006. Would it be different if I waited for her to reach her FRA two months later at 66 years and 8 months?

Hi. Since your wife was born after January 1 1954, when she filed for her benefits she was also deemed to be filing for spousal benefits. What that means is that she'll be required to start drawing spousal benefits as soon as you start drawing your benefits, even if that's before she reaches full retirement age (FRA). And, in that event, her spousal rate will be reduced for age.

I'll give you an example using the PIAs mentioned in your question and disregarding cost of living (COLA) increases. Let's say you start drawing at your FRA in August 2023. Your wife's unreduced spousal benefit would first be calculated by subtracting her primary insurance amount (PIA) from 50% of your PIA. Based on the PIAs listed in your question that would be $494 (i.e. ($3006/2) - $1009). But, since August 2023 is 21 months prior to your wife's FRA her spousal rate would be reduced to $421. That amount would then be paid in addition to her own reduced rate of $720 to give her a combined benefit amount of $1141. Keep in mind, though, that the actual amounts will no doubt be somewhat different.

Your wife's spousal rate wouldn't be reduced for age if you don't start drawing your benefits before she reaches FRA, but she'll still be stuck with the reduction on her own benefit amount for as long as both of you are living.

Another thing for you to consider is that the earlier you start drawing your benefits the lower your spouse's potential monthly survivor benefit rate will be. Surviving spouses can be paid up to their deceased spouse's full monthly benefit amount, so starting your benefit any time prior to age 70 will lower the potential survivor rate that your wife could be paid should you predecease her.

You should strongly consider using our software ( to fully analyze the options available to you in order to determine your best strategy for maximizing your benefits.

Best, Jerry

Dec 2 2021 - 7:00am
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