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Will My Wife's Payment Be Increased If She Delays Receiving Benefits Until After Reaching Full Retirement Age?

my wife born on 1/30/1957, what month she can receive full social security benefit payment, She will use half of my retirement payment instead of her payment which is less, if she chooses to delay to receive the payment will the payment be increased?

Hi. If your wife was born on January 30th 1957, her full retirement age (FRA) for Social Security retirement and spousal benefits is July 2023. Waiting past then to claim spousal benefits would not increase her spousal benefit rate, but would increase her own Social Security retirement benefit rate.

However, your wife can't qualify for spousal benefits unless you're drawing your benefits. And, your wife can't apply for either her own benefits or for spousal benefits without being deemed to be filing for both benefits at the same time. So, if 50% of your PIA is more than your wife's own PIA and assuming that your wife has enough Social Security earnings credits to qualify for benefits on her own account and you are drawing your benefits, she'll be paid her own benefit plus a partial spousal benefit. If she starts drawing at her FRA or later, her total benefit amount would then add up to 50% of your PIA.

For example, say Mary files for benefits when she reaches FRA in July 2023. Mary's PIA, which is equal to her FRA retirement benefit rate, is $800. Mary's husband is collecting his benefits, and his PIA is $2000. Mary's unreduced excess spousal benefit would then be calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of her husband's PIA, which in Mary's case amounts to $200 (i.e. $2000/2 - $800). Mary would then be paid both her own FRA rate of $800 plus her unreduced excess spousal rate of $200 to give her a combined benefit amount of $1000 (i.e. equal to half of her husband's PIA).

If Mary waited until age 70 to start collecting benefits, her own retirement benefit rate would increase to $1024 due to delayed retirement credits (DRC). But, in that case Mary would not qualify for spousal benefits since her own benefit rate would be more than 50% of her husband's PIA. So, Mary would almost certainly choose to start drawing her combined benefit of $1000 at her FRA of 66 & 6 months as opposed to waiting until age 70 to receive a $24 higher monthly benefit.

Your wife's best filing option depends on a number of different variables, so she should strongly consider using our software ( to fully compare and analyze all of her options so that she can be sure to choose the best strategy for maximizing her benefits.

Best, Jerry

Feb 17 2023 - 11:49am
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