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Spousal benefits plus full benefits


Spousal benefits plus full benefits

Husband DOB, January 1953, Wife DOB February 1958

Wife filed for her benefits at age 62; husband filed restricted application for spousal benefits.


Plan: Husband files for Maximum Benefits in January 2023 (age 70); Wife files for spousal benefits from husband afterwards. Our financial adviser says that wife can collect BOTH her age 62 individual benefits plus spousal benefits.  Spousal benefits for wife is greater than her age 62 benefits. 

Is this correct? 

Husband will complete application online and in remarks indicate "Maximum benefits at age 70. "


When does wife submit her application for spousal benefits from her husband.


Thank you.  This is all very confusing.  I asked our financial adviser again (she completed benefits estimator through BlackRock); she is Merrill Lynch affiliated) and she insisted wife may collect both spousal and individual benefits. 



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I'm not exactly sure I would have put it like the FA said it -  kind of makes one think that she is gonna get both added together - at least not in total amount - and that is definitely NOT the case - maybe the FA didn't mean it exactly as you may have interpreted it.

Back in 2015, Congress amended the SS Retirement law for a spouse who qualifies both for        their own benefit and that of a spouse.  The effective date was for anybody born AFTER January 01, 1954 or who reach the age of 62 AFTER January 2016 -  it is called the deemed filing rule and it will affect your wife's benefit.


You are good to go - at 70 your retirement benefits have earned all the delayed retirement credits (DRC) they will ever get so there is no reason for you to delay any longer.  Yes do include that note on your application to SSA especially since you are filing in January 2023- make sure they apply the last years (2022) DRC - 


Since your wife was born AFTER January 01,1954 and became 62 years of age AFTER January 01, 2016, then when she files for benefits, SSA will deem her to be filing for both of her benefits - her own benefit and her spousal benefit - since you will have already begun benefits when she files for her benefits - that's the pre-requisite for filing for spousal benefits now after the law change - the primary beneficiary HAS to be receiving benefits before spousal benefits are an applicable option.


SSA will calculate each of these benefits and the dollar amount that she will receive will be a combination of both benefits to reach the amount that is the larger of the two 


Since she plans on filing for benefits at 62,

  • keep in mind that this (early age filing) will reduce her benefit by a good bit since her FRA isn't until 66 + 8 months - and at 62, that is gonna be 56 months early *
  • the spousal benefit of 50% of the primary beneficiary's benefit will also be reduced because of age early filing. 
  • Also remember that the spousal (50%) benefits DOES NOT include your delayed retirement credits - the spousal benefit is based on your FRA benefit amount not the one which you will get with the delayed retirement credits included at the 70 years old mark.

* SSA,gov Benefit Reduction for Early Retirement ( see footnote "c" & "d")


As to when she can file - in order for spousal benefits to be in the mix - she can file any time AFTER you start getting your SS retirement benefits - she can file for early retirement at 62 or if she doesn't want any of the age-based reductions which will lower her benefit forever - she could wait til FRA to file - any number of months that she delays filing will lower the whatever reduction due to age.


Here are a few reading articles: Benefits planner:  Retirement - Filing Rules for Retirement and Spouses Benefits - FAQ:  Can I apply only for spouse’s benefits and delay filing for my own retirement benefi...


Happy Retirement !  You and spouse - just don't spend it all in one place.  🤔



It's Always Something . . . . Roseanna Roseannadanna
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