My wife found out she has RA and fibro not long after we first married. She applied for disability with an attorney but was denied due to insufficient work credits.
Approximately 15 years later my application for disability was approved. My lawyer at the time advised any benefit due my wife would be included with my benefit up to the "family" maximum.
Now I'm seeing something that looks like a spouse can separately receive up to 50% of the spouse's benefit if he/she is over age 62 (or age 50 if he/she is disabled also).
Have I misread this or do we need to be preparing to file when she reaches 50 so we do not miss out on any additional benefits?
Don't confused Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Social Security Old Age and Survivors Benefits (SSOASI).
Under SSDI, when you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family may also qualify for benefits on your record. Your wife is one of those members. IF she is your only family member receiving a benefit, then most likely she is getting 50% of your Disability benefit.
You can read how it works at this link:
Social Security DISABILITY - Family Benefit
When you reach your Full Retirement Age, whenever that might be, your benefit will only change names from SSDI to your SS Old Age Benefit. The amount will remain the same.
Since it sounds like your wife doesn't have enough credits for her own SS Old Age benefit, your wife, at that time, if she is at least 62 years old she will qualify for a spousal benefit which is 50% of your benefit LESS a % since she might be taking this(spousal) benefit early (at 62 rather than her full retirement age). This is also discussed in the above link.
The important thing here is the age difference between the two of you.
Determine what her age will be when you turn your Full Retirement Age because she has to be at least 62 to begin (early) spousal benefits - if she is older than that - it will be to her(and your) benefit. The closer she is to your age and to her full retirement age, the closer she will be in getting that whole 50% of your benefit as her spousal benefit.
Here is the chart on Full Retirement Age and how your wife's spousal benefit will be affected based on her taking the benefit at 62. But remember if she is older than 62 when you reach YOUR Full Retirement Age, the reduction in her benefit will decrease and thus she will get closer to that 50% of your benefit..
Social Security - Full Retirement and Age 62 Benefit By Year Of Birth
Your wife because she doesn't qualify for her own SS benefits - Disability or Old Age - isn't classified as disabled by the SS system and therefore, I do not believe she will be able to get her spousal benefit at 50 (because she is disabled). This might have to be fought out using a lawyer - could be expensive.
How much younger is she than you?
Let me know if this isn't clear - explaining SS is sometimes difficult.
I am not an expert but have read and read and read about the system and have tried to help lots of people understand it and their own unique situations.
It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna