fbpx Skip to content

Can Spouses Start Social Security Benefits at Different Times?

Can spouses start Social Security benefits at different times? We received that question from a viewer. Here is the answer.

Watch Now: Can Spouses Start Social Security Benefits at Different Times?

Can Spouses Start Social Secuirty Benefits at Different Times

Check Out Our YouTube Channel

Our YouTube Channel has over 100 videos on a variety of topics.  Click here to visit.  And while you are there, please subscribe.
Blog Post Alt Tag

Listen Now:
Can Spouses Start Social Security Benefits at Different Times?

Subscribe Where You Find Your Podcasts

Blog Post Alt Tag

The Question:

Mike sent us this question on our YouTube channel. He writes, “I am working past age 62, to have good health insurance for my wife who has cancer. Can she take her social security at 62 and then when I retire, can she claim a spousal benefit if it gives her more?”

The Answer:

She can file for her own benefit on her own earnings record at age 62. (Related:  5 Reasons to Start Social Security at age 62 and 4 reasons to not start your Social Security at age 62) That is when she’s eligible to start Social Security. When Mike retires in the future, she can file for a spousal benefit—if she’s eligible.

How Spousal Benefits Work

A spousal benefit will increase the lower-earning spouse’s total Social Security benefit. The amount will raise their benefit to half of the higher-earning spouse’s benefit. Here is an example:

Mike’s full retirement age benefit is $2,000 per month. His wife’s full retirement age benefit is $800 a month. Half of Mike’s benefit is $1,000 per month. His wife would receive her benefit ($800) plus a $200 spousal benefit. Both benefits will be reduced if they retire before their normal retirement age.

If his wife’s benefit is $1,100 per month, it is more than half of Mike’s benefit. In this case, there is no spousal benefit to claim.

Please note: You cannot claim a spousal benefit until the higher-earning spouse starts their Social Security benefits.

Spousal Benefits Not Adjusted for Delayed Retirement Credits

If Mike works beyond his full retirement age, the spousal benefit does not increase. If Mike decides to wait until age 70 to claim his Social Security benefits, he will receive a higher amount. But his wife’s spousal benefit does not increase. Spousal benefits are based on the higher-earning spouse’s benefit at full retirement age.

Survivor benefits are different. The Social Security survivor benefits improve with delayed retirement credits. If Mike worked to age 70, and he passed away first, his wife’s survivor benefit would be higher.

Know Your Numbers

When it comes to Social Security benefits, there are no “one size fits all” answers.  Every situation is unique.  But you need to know your numbers to make the best decision for you.  If you need help…

Talk to a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional

 


insert here

About the Author

Neal Watson is a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and a Financial Advisor with Fleming Watson Financial Advisors.    He specializes in helping hard working, middle class families plan for retirement.

Our Most Recent Videos And Posts