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Wife turns 62 in July 2021, how do we apply? Wait until 67 or take now at 62?

My wife will turn 62 in July 2021.   What is the procedure to apply?  What documents are needed?  I welcome thoughts and experiences as far as taking at 62 or waiting until 67.  I turn 62 in April 2020 and am planning on starting mine at that time as well.  I am employed, my wife is a homemaker. 

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@jaguidryl 

I suggest opening a "My Social Security Account" at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ This will allow you to see your benefits, use some of their tools for estimating benefits based on your own actual income history, and other operations.

 

You can apply on-line, over the phone, or in-person at a local office. See https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/apply.html

 

If your wife has any work history at all her own benefit may be greater than what she might receive for spousal benefits based on your history. But it seems this likely won't be the case for the situation you describe. And because of your ages now, basically 62, you are both subject to the "new" "deemed filing" rule that came into force in 2014. Before this people could apply for a spousal benefit and delay their benefit as based on their own work history. This could provide some monetary advantages, but no more.

 

Full retirement benefits are based on your "full retirement age" (FRA), which was 66 years for me (born 1952) but will be a few months older for you and your wife (see https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/agereduction.html). By taking benefits early they will be reduce, to around 2/3 or so of your FRA benefit. See https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/earlyretire.html. The reduction will affect your wife even more, she will get 50% of your benefit as your spouse, and that also is reduced by taking it early. So taking SS benefits at 62 will give you both a large hit. By the same token, someone holding out beyond their FRA will see their benefit get an extra 8% for each year.

 

You ask the eternal question, to take benefits at 62 or FRA? I know there are discussions about that in this AARP forum (and I have seen others), some want their benefit now, either because they have immediate need or due to health or family history they don't expect to live until some really ripe old age. Others have more resources to live for a few years without the benefit once they stop working and will wait until FRA or older. There is no "one size fits all" rule.  

 

Bear in mind that without some major changes to SS funding it is expected that benefits will have some reduction in a dozen years or so. For my own planning I assume some reduction to come up at that time (due to the lateness of the hour I haven't dug into the details of this but there is a lot of discussion of potential reduction in the news and even at SS). So benefits reduced by taking at age 62 may be reduced further sometime in the future.

 

I am fortunate to be able to wait until I am 70. My rationale is my wife: she has no work history of her own, so she is fully dependent upon the spousal benefit, and she is younger than me by 10 years and so is expected to outlive me by many years. I want to give her the largest SS benefit that I can.

 

Good luck!

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