Will I Receive Spousal Benefits?

Jun 21 2016 - 3:15pm

Due to health reasons I need to cut back my hours at work. I am 63, I am considering taking early Social Security benefit. Is it also possible to add my husbands spousal benefit to my early retirement benefit?
Thank you,


Your husband must be entitled to benefits in order for you to eligible on his account. If he is currently receiving benefits and you file now, you will be deemed to be applying for reduced benefits on both your own record, and on his account. If he is not currently receiving benefits and you apply, you will not be deemed to have filed on his account. If that's the case, you will have to file a separate application in order to become entitled to spousal benefits.

If your husband has not filed for benefits when you apply, he may be eligible for a spousal benefit on your account. If he turned 62 before 2016 and he waits until age 66, he could file just for spousal benefits while letting his own benefit grow by 8% per year until age 70. If he is under age 66 and files for reduced spousal benefits, he will also be deemed to have filed for reduced benefits on his own account. If his full retirement benefit exceeds one half of yours, he would then be ineligible for a spousal benefit.

Please think long and hard before filing for reduced benefits, though, because the reduction will be permanent. Since you turned 62 prior to 2016, if you wait until age 66 to file you can apply for only spousal benefits on your husband's record while allowing your own benefit to grow by 8% per year until age 70. Your husband would have to be receiving benefits on his own account in order for you to receive spousal benefits, however. Depending on your circumstances, that may be your most best option.

The best option for you and your husband depends on many factors, such as your dates of birth, earnings histories, current earnings, and life expectancies. You may want to consider running the maximization software available on this website to help you decide the best course of action.

Best, Jerry