Would It Be Worth It To File For My Own Benefits At Age 62 And Later Change To Drawing On My Ex's Record?

Jan 14 2020 - 7:57am

My ex husband is 5 years younger than me. I will be 62 this year. His income is extremely high and mine was lower as I stayed home with my children or worked part time as they were growing up. Is it worth taking mine at 62 and then can I change to his at a later point when he gets to be tetirement age. Im pretty sure 1/2 of his benefit will be higher than mine. Im just not sure when to take either. My health has not been great so Im ythinoing taking mine at 62 would be a better option for me but meed to know how or when I can claim spousal benefits.

Hi,

The obvious upside of filing for your own benefits at age 62 would be that you'd start drawing benefits sooner, but the downside is that you would then continue to receive a lower monthly benefit rate for as long as both you and your ex-husband are living. You can't simply stop drawing your own benefits in the future and switch to drawing divorced spousal benefits instead.

For example, say Leah files for her own benefits at age 62. Leah's FRA rate or primary insurance amount (PIA) is $1000, but she receives a reduced rate of $720 in return for starting her benefits early. Five years later, Leah's ex-husband reaches age 62 and his PIA is $2600. Leah's divorced spousal benefit would then be $300, or 50% of her ex-husband's PIA minus Leah's own PIA (i.e. $2600/2 - $1000), which would be unreduced since Leah has already reached FRA when she becomes eligible for divorced spousal benefits. Leah's excess divorced spousal rate would then be paid in addition to her reduced retirement benefit to give her a combined benefit amount of $1020. In other words, rather than getting a full 50% of her ex-husband's PIA Leah would get $280 less than that amount because she started drawing her own benefits at age 62.

Filing for your own benefits at age 62 would not adversely affect your survivor benefit rate if your ex dies before you, though. You'll have to decide for yourself whether not to file for your benefits early, but you may first want to use our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to fully explore and compare your options so that you'll be able to choose the strategy that you believe will work out best for you in the long run.

Best, Jerry