Ask Larry

When Can My Wife File Her Application For Spousal Benefits?

I have GWY book and love it.
My situation is this: I am turning 70 yrs this July and am ready to file for SS. My wife will be turning 69 this summer as well (2021), and her plan is to file for SS at age 70. Due to our ages, we qualify for the grandfathered approach of the old "file and suspend", that is now the restricted application. I plan to file for the restricted application soon, so that my wife can file for spousal benefits off my claim. As I understand it, she will be able to receive spousal benefits of 50% of my FRA for 13 months until her birthday in August 2022, when she turns 70 and will file for her own SS account.
My question is this: I want to maximize as many of the 13 months that my wife will receive spousal benefits off my SS account; can my wife file for spousal benefits at the same time while I am in the process of filing for my age 70 benefits, or does she have to wait until I begin receiving SS benefits before she can file for the spousal benefits? Her window for spousal benefits is only 13 months long, so I want to get her as much of the spousal benefits she is entitled to by setting up both my benefits (via restricted application) and here spousal benefits at the same time. I will be filing for my restricted application online.

Hi. You and your could file your applications on the same day. She just couldn't file her application any earlier than when you file yours Just to be clear, though, you don't need to file a restricted application if you'll be drawing your own Social Security retirement benefits. It's your wife who'd want to file a restricted application if she wants to file for spousal benefits only.

The purpose of a restricted application is to limit the scope of an application to only one type of benefit. You wouldn't need to do that because your own retirement benefit would apparently be the only type of benefit for which you're eligible. Your wife, however, would need to restrict her application for spousal benefits to exclude her own retirement benefits from the scope of her application.

If your wife files online, there will be a question on her application that asks "If you are eligible for both retirement benefits and spouse's benefits, do you want to delay receipt of retirement benefits." Your wife will want to answer 'yes' to that question in order to restrict the scope of her application to spousal benefits only. She could optionally add a statement in remarks such as "I wish to restrict the scope of my application to spouse's benefits only."

I should add, by the way, that I don't have enough details about your and your wife's benefit options to know if you're choosing the best possible claiming strategy. You may want to consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to fully analyze the options available to you and your wife so that you can be sure you're choosing the best possible option.

Best, Jerry

Posted: 
Apr 7 2021 - 5:56pm
MaxiFi software running on a laptop
Get What's Yours!
Discover tens of thousands in extra retirement dollars with Maximize My Social Security software!
  • Find your maximized strategy
  • Unlimited what-ifs
  • Step-by-Step filing instructions
  • Our software's lifetime-benefit increase for an illustrative couple earning $65K each and planning to take retirement benefits at 62.

    Results will differ based on your specific case and filing strategy.

Getting Started is Easy
Web-based software. Works on ALL browsers. No download.
$40 Annual Household License
$250 Annual Financial Advisor License