Will I Be Forced To Apply For Benefits When My Wife Files?

Category: 
Dec 12 2018 - 9:28am

Hi Larry: My wife is 8 months older than I and she will be applying for her own benefit in 2020 (not spousal) on January 24 when she turns 66. Regarding deeming, will I be forced to apply as well because she applied on her own record? I have your great book but am confused about this deeming thing. My plan is to wait until age 70 to apply on my own record, but, like your book says, don't trust everything the folks at Social Security tell us. Thanks in advance for your help.

Hi,

No. Regardless of when your wife files for her benefits it won't have any effect on your filing options. You wouldn't be deemed to be filing for anything simply because your wife files for benefits.

What the deeming provision means for you and your wife is that it will prevent either of you from filing just for spousal benefits only without also being required to file for your own Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. Only people born prior to January 2 1954 are permitted to restrict the scope of their application to spousal benefits only, and they can only do so if they file for spousal benefits at full retirement age (FRA) or later (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/deemedfaq.html). Unfortunately, that filing strategy isn't available to you or your wife because you were both born after January 1 1954.

Bottom line, both you and your wife are free to file for your own benefits whenever you choose to do so. Neither of you could be eligible for spousal benefits unless and until both of you are drawing on your own records, and only if one of you has a full retirement age rate, or primary insurance amount (PIA), that's more than double the amount of the other spouse's PIA. You and your wife may want to strongly consider using our maximization software to explore and compare your various options so that you can choose the best possible filing strategy.

Best, Jerry