When Can I File For Spousal Benefits?

Aug 2 2020 - 10:58am

Hello, first thank you for your time! I have read many things about SS benefits but I'm still confused. I am currently still married but do not live with my spouse. I guess you can say we are separated (Not Legally) but have not been together in over a decade. We also live in 2 different states. He filed for SS after he was 62. He's 65 now and I'm 5 years younger. So I am 60 now. When can I file for spousal benefits? I do not want to file for mine until I am 67 to get full benefits. I'm not sure who has made more in their life time and I'm not sure how you requested spousal benefits and then switch to your benefits later?? It all seems so confusing! Please help! I don't want to file incorrectly. Thank you!


You could apply for spousal benefits as early as age 62, but you can't file for spousal benefits without also being required to file for your own benefits at the same time. Also, your spouse would have to be drawing his benefits in order for you to potentially qualify for spousal benefits. Only people born prior to January 2 1954 were allowed to file just for spousal benefits without filing for their own benefits simultaneously, and even they couldn't do so if they claimed the spousal benefits prior to full retirement age (FRA).

Whenever you file for benefits you'll be deemed to be filing for both your own benefits and spousal benefits. If your husband is receiving his benefits at that time, you'll then receive essentially the higher of your own rate or your spousal rate and your rate will be reduced for age if you start drawing prior to FRA. If your husband isn't yet drawing his benefits when you file for your benefits you could potentially claim spousal benefits when he does file, but you'd only qualify for spousal benefits if 50% of his primary insurance amount (PIA) is more than your own PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

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Best, Jerry