Ask Larry

Will My Wife's Benefit Rise Or Stay The Same When I Take My Own Benefits?

Hi my wife born 01/03/1956 took benefits at 64. I then took spousal benefits. I plan on taking my benefits this year at age 70. Question will my wife’s benefit rise or stay the same? Thank you so much.

Hi. Your wife's total benefit amount will only increase when you claim your own benefits if she then qualifies for an excess spousal benefit from your account. In order to qualify for an excess spousal benefit, your primary insurance amount (PIA) would have to be more than twice as much as your wife's PIA. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

Some people think that auxiliary benefits paid to a spouse or child cause the benefit rate of the worker on whose record they collect to be reduced. That's not true. Auxiliary benefits are paid in addition to the worker's benefit, they don't take away from the worker's benefit. Therefore, when you switch from spousal benefits to your own benefits it won't cause your wife's own benefit rate to increase.

Best, Jerry

Jan 3 2023 - 3:54pm
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