When Should My Wife File For Benefits?

Jan 15 2017 - 1:30pm

I am 67 and I am receiving full SSA benefit since I reached full retirement age. My benefit is 2300.00.
My wife is 64 and has not filed for benefits. At full retirement age she would only receive 633.00.
Should she file and receive a spousal benefit now or wait till FRA?


Since your wife's own benefit rate won't exceed 50% of your full retirement age rate even if she waits until age 70 to start drawing, she would not want to wait past age 66 to apply. When she does file, she'll end up receiving her own benefit plus an excess spousal benefit from your record. And, if she waits until age 66 to start drawing, her combined benefit rate will be equal to 50% of your full retirement age rate.

Your wife could start drawing benefits now, but her benefits will be reduced if she does. At age 64, retirement benefits on a person's own record are reduced by about 13.33%, and spousal benefits are reduced by about 16.67%. So your wife's total benefit would be reduced by a percentage within that range if she starts drawing right at age 64. The closer she gets to age 66 before filing, the closer her rate would get to the full 50% of your rate.

When to file for Social Security is a personal decision, so your wife will need to decide that for herself. She may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website to help her choose the best option.

Best, Jerry