My wife and I are the same age. And I understand the deeming rules (that if a person files for either their retirement or spousal benefit, they are also deemed to be filing for the other benefit too). My question is, I thought that my wife could file for her retirement benefit at FRA (which is 67 for both of us). But I would delay filing for my retirement benefit until age 70, at which time she would file for her spousal benefit. But will SS deem that she filed for her spousal benefit at 67 even though I didn't file for my retirement benefit? If so, how does SS calculate what her spousal benefit would be?
Hi. Yes, since your wife was apparently born after January 1 1954, she'll be deemed to be filing for spousal benefits whenever she applies for her own benefits. However, she can't actually collect spousal benefits at least until you start drawing your benefits. So, if you're not drawing your benefits when your wife starts drawing her own benefits, deeming will force her to claim spousal benefits effective with the first month you claim your benefits.
If your wife does file for her benefits at her full retirement age (FRA), it won't adversely affect the amount she'd receive once she becomes eligible for spousal benefits. Spousal benefits are calculated based on 50% of their spouse's primary insurance amount (PIA), not 50% of their spouse's actual benefit rate. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).
For example, let's say Joy files for her Social Security retirement benefits at her FRA of 67. Joy is then paid her full PIA of $600. Three years later Joy's spouse applies for his benefits when he turns age 70. Joy's spouse's PIA is $2000, although his monthly benefit rate is increased to $2480 because he waited until age 70 to start drawing benefits. Joy's spousal benefit would then be calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of her husband's PIA, which in Joy's case amounts to $400 (i.e. $2000/2 - $600). Joy would then be paid both her own benefit plus her excess spousal amount for a total of $1000 (i.e. $600 + $400), which is equal to 50% of her husband's PIA.
It sounds like you and your wife should strongly consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to fully analyze all of your various options so that you can determine the best overall strategy for maximizing your benefits.