Thanks very much for yr answer!
Could you confirm if I suspend my SocSec benefits at my FRA of 66 and then start them again when I turn 70 at the higher amount (my existing benefits would increase 8% per year over the 4 years I was not collecting- which has been confirmed by SocSec) that when my wife reaches her FRA of 66.5- at which time I will be 75.5- that she will collect 50% of the new higher benefit that I am collecting at that time.
I just got off phone with a SocSec agent who gave me answer to my original question to you which goes back to what they told me two years ago, i.e., when my wife files at her FRA under my benefits, she will receive 50% of my FRA benefits, even though I started collecting early at 62 instead of my FRA of 66. So there would be no adverse effect of reduced spousal benefits caused by me collecting before my FRA.
So I'm left wondering which one is correct.
Also they said spouse gets no benefit from my DRCs if I suspend for four years. The most spouse can receive is 50% of my FRA amount as a benefit at her FRA, and 100% of my FRA amount at my death even if I was collecting more than my FRA due to DRCs.
Thanks for link to SSA.gov re spouses. I read this carefully but have reached opposite conclusion. Nowhere does the article mention anything about the effect on the spousal benefit of the worker collecting less than the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) by collecting earlier than at his FRA.
The article states only the effect on spousal benefit if the spouse retires earlier than her FRA. The calculator displayed computes the effect on spouses early retirement as a percentage of workers PIA only with no consideration to how much worker is actually collecting whether more or less than his PIA.
Also, the last paragraph under Early Retirement Reduces Benefits clearly states that the reduction factor for spouse who retires earlier than her FRA is applied to the base spousal benefit which is defined as 50% of the workers PIA. There is no mention of any possibility that the base spousal benefit could be lower than the workers PIA, i.e., the amount the worker would have received if he had collected at his Normal Retirement Date, or FRA.
I think you may be inferring something that is not specifically mentioned.
Also for what it's worth my interpretation of this article comports with 3 out of 4 of SSA agents I spoke with on phone re this subject.
Please let me know if if you have other evidence to show I'm wrong about this.
FYI, I found this article from Prudential that is very informative and clearly states that non-working spouse can collect 50% of working spouse's PIA once non-working spouse reaches her FRA, with no penalty even if working spouse stated collecting earlier than his FRA.
This article also clearly states that if working spouse suspends collecting in order to gain DRCs, that the non-working spouse will benefit from these DRCs and collect the higher amount the working spouse was collecting upon his subsequent death. The non-working spouse cannot get DRCs on her own but she can get working spouses DRCs as a death benefit. InnovativeSocialSecurityNov2012.pdf