Would My Wife's Child In Care Spousal Benefits Be Subject To The Earnings Test?

Oct 14 2018 - 10:40am

I am 66 just filed. My wife is 59 still working and caring for our DAC who just switched from SSI to SSDI based on my record. I understand my wife is eligible for a spousal benefit (caring for our DAC) but have 3 questions. 1) Is her benefit reduced by the earnings test (as this will effectively eliminate any benefit) 2) if reduced is that recalculated and paid back at FRA and 3) if she takes the spousal benefit now will she deemed to have filed (we would like to defer her benefit to age 70) Her spousal benefit would be ~$1,100 but her own benefit would be ~$2500 at FRA & $3100 if deferred. I have your software but don't know how to include this scenario.Thanks for your help


1) Yes, your wife's child in care spousal benefits would be subject to the earnings test until she reaches her full retirement age (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/whileworking.html).

2) No, if any of your wife's benefits are withheld due to the earnings test there would be no recalculation or repayment at her full retirement age (FRA) because child in care spousal benefits are not reduced for age.

3) No, if your wife files now for child in care spousal benefits she would not be deemed to also be filing for her own retirement benefits. However, if your wife no longer meets the child in care requirements after reaching FRA her benefits would convert to regular spousal benefits, and since she was born after January 1 1954 she would be deemed to have filed for her retirement benefits effective with the month of conversion from child in care to regular spousal benefits.

You and your wife may want to consider using our maximization software in order to determine your best strategy for claiming benefits.

Best, Jerry