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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 35390
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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I have read a lot on line but am still confused about

Customer Question

I have read a lot on line but am still confused about maximizing Social Security benefits when both spouses have accrued benefits and could use some guidance--especially understanding when to take spousal benefits. How can we get the most from both our accrued Social Security? What can we draw on my benefit without hurting her future benefit until she reached age 70?
I am 68 and took reduced Social Security at age 64 due to a job layoff. My wife has accrued her own benefit which is higher than mine would have been at my full retirement age. She is 64 and has not taken any Social Security or spousal benefit. We are currently not in a money crunch, so are looking out to the future.
Questions I have are:
1) Is she entitled to a spousal benefit at any time on my earnings without negatively impacting her accrued benefit which she is hoping to take at age 70?
2) At age 70, will she be entitled to her full enhanced benefit? What would derail that? Can I/should I plan to switch to a spousal benefit when she takes her benefit?
3)What are the smart moves to legally maximize our life-time combined benefit?
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.
Good afternoon,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
You asked: 1) Is she entitled to a spousal benefit at any time on my earnings without negatively impacting her accrued benefit which she is hoping to take at age 70?
No, she cannot take a spouse benefit without negatively effecting her own retirement benefit until she reached full retirement age of 66.
2) At age 70, will she be entitled to her full enhanced benefit?
Yes, she will be.
What would derail that?
Taking any retirement benefit---hers or a spouse benefit---before full retirement age.
Can I/should I plan to switch to a spousal benefit when she takes her benefit?
Technically you can, when she starts to tale her own benefit, but unless her benefit at age 66 is mot=re than twice yours, it won't do any good. A spouse benefit does not pay any portion of the enhanced benefit obtained by waiting from 66 to 70.
3)What are the smart moves to legally maximize our life-time combined benefit?
Your wife takes a spouse benefit at age 66 and switches to her own at age 70, and you take a spouse benefit when she reaches 70 if that will do you any good. It may not.
You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.
Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.
I wish you and yours the best in 2015,
Doug