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I realize you have a question about social security. My goal is to help you better understand your options.
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Unfortunately, you cannot take a spousal benefit until your spouse actually files for her social security benefit
There is the file and suspend program where one of you would file for benefits, and then immediately suspend your application to allow your spouse to draw the spousal benefit - but you can't do that until full retirement age
For your situation, it would make more sense when your wife turns 66 to file and suspend on your account
and allow her to draw the spousal benefit from full retirement age to 70 while allowing her own benefit to grow
But, unfortunately, you can't draw a benefit off her unless she files early - and you don't want to do that.
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Following your suggestion, when my wife turns 66, I will be 71 and will have been receiving benefits since 70. So if she files for spousal benefits (based on my 70-year rate), what would then have to be suspended?
Nothing would have to be suspended because you would be drawing your benefit
And if I were to die
And if I were to die (not the main plan) between when my wife was 66 to 70, how would that affect spousal benefits?
She would get a benefit equal to your full benefit
But, she would either get that or get her own benefit - not both
She could still draw the survivor benefit and let her own benefit grow
So you are saying that if she turned 66 and I was not alive, that she could draw my full benefit based on my 70-year rate, and then switch to her own 70-year rate when she turns 70?
Thank you for your follow up. Yes, your wife could draw 100% of your benefit, and then switch to her higher benefit later on if you were to pass.