When Can My Husband Collect Spousal Benefits?

Jan 24 2017 - 5:15am

My husband is 4 years younger than I and earns about $45,000 /yr gross. I just turned 63. I work for local government and will probably not get much SSN if anything under WEP since I make $109,000 gross when I retire early next year. My estimated SS payout will be about $1300 at my age 65. Right now its about $700. I'd like my husband to start collecting spousal social security from my acct asap. What do I have to do so he can collect? And when is he eligible to collect from my acct? I'd like him to leave his alone till age 70.


It doesn't sound like your husband is likely to ever be eligible for spousal benefits on your record. In theory, he could be eligible for reduced spousal benefits as early as age 62, but whenever he files for spousal benefits he'll be deemed to also have applied for his own retirement benefits. And, he'll essentially only receive the higher of the 2 benefits. Due to the changes in the deeming laws that Congress passed in 2015, your husband will no longer have the option of filing for spousal benefits only at full retirement age and then switching to his own record at age 70 (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html).

If you'll be receiving a pension based on work that was exempt from Social Security taxes, the windfall elimination provision (WEP) will not only likely lower your own benefit rate, but also the potential spousal benefit rate for which your husband would qualify (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf). And, if his own retirement benefit rate is higher than the potential spousal rate, he won't be eligible for spousal benefits.

You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine the best filing strategy for both you and your husband.

Best, Jerry