Will My Wife Be Able To Switch From Her Own Benefits To A Spousal Benefit When I Start Drawing My Benefits?

Feb 27 2020 - 11:05am

My wife and I will turn 66 this year. I'm still working and plan on filing for social security at 70. My wife will file for ss this year at her fra. Her amount will be 400 a month. When I file at 70, will she be able to switch to a spousal benefit of one half of my fra?


Your wife couldn't switch from drawing her own benefits to drawing just a spousal benefits, but what she could do when you start drawing your benefits is file for an excess spousal benefit from your record. Your wife's unreduced excess spousal rate would be calculated by subtracting her primary insurance amount (PIA), or her PIA increased by delayed retirement credits (DRC) if she waits past full retirement age (FRA) to start drawing, from 50% of your PIA. The excess spousal benefit would then be paid in addition to your wife's own benefit.

Bottom line, if your wife starts drawing her benefits at FRA and if 50% of your PIA is higher than her PIA, her combined benefit amount inclusive of her excess spousal benefit when you start drawing would add up to 50% of your PIA. A person's PIA is the amount of their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at FRA, and includes subsequent cost of living increases.

Best, Jerry