Will My Wife Be Eligible For A Greater Monthly Benefit When I Start Drawing My Benefits?

Jun 17 2019 - 5:41pm


My question is as follows. Hoping you can answer it as the folks at the social security office tell me "NO" when I ask them.

Hopefully I can ask this complicated question in a way that you'll understand. Here goes.

I am 68 years old and coming up on 69. My birthdate is October 21,1950.

My wife is 69 and is coming up on 70. She is ten months older than me and was born on Dec.20,1949.

My wife started social security on her 65th birthday at a reduced rate.

When I turned 66, I decided to take what is called spousal social security based on a percentage of her monthly benefit.

By me taking spousal social security at 66, and delaying my own benefit, I will be getting 32% more when I officially start my own benefit on my 70th birthday.

When I begin my own social security at 70, and am no longer getting spousal social security, will my wife be able to get a greater monthly benefit by filing for spousal social security based on my monthly benefit. When my 70th birthday comes around I will be getting $3,227.00 per month (before the medicare deduction). My wife will be still getting her usual $916.00 (before medicare deduction).

I was hoping you have an answer other than the answer that the social security people always tell me which is "NO", she will not be eliigible for a greater monthly benefit.


In order for your wife to qualify for additional spousal benefits when you start drawing on your record, your primary insurance amount (PIA) must be more than twice as much as her PIA. A person's PIA is the amount of their Social Security retirement benefit if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA).

If your age 70 benefit is $3,227, your PIA must be roughly $2,445 (i.e. $3227/1.32). If your wife started drawing her Social Security retirement benefits effective with the month she turned 65 and her reduced rate is $916, then her PIA must be roughly $982. Therefore, assuming that the amounts shown in your question are accurate, it would appear that your wife should qualify for an excess spousal benefit of about $240 (i.e. 50% of your PIA, or $1222.50 - your wife's PIA of $982) when you switch to drawing on your own record. That would then be added to her own reduced retirement benefit to give her a combined benefit rate of around $1156.

Best, Jerry