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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 35406
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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H & W are both 66 yrs old. They registered with SSA at age

Customer Question

H & W are both 66 yrs old. They registered with SSA at age 65 and elected to take only Medicare benefits so as to wait until age 70 to claim SS benefits. If W elects to begin benefits now by claiming spousal benefit (1/2 of H's current benefit estimate), which is higher than her own benefit at current age, can she change her election when H turns 70 and begin claiming 1/2 of his age 70 benefits? Or, by electing to start spousal benefit now at H's current benefit estimate is W locked into that benefit level permanently?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 12 months 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.

It is important for both husband and wife to understand that in order for one of them to take a spouse benefit, the other must file and suspend no later than April 30, 2016.

And yes, if the husband files and suspends now, the wife may immediately then file a restricted application taking ONLY a spouse benefit equal to 50% of her husband's full retirement age benefit and that will allow both of their own retirement benefits to continue to grow by 8% per year up to age 70.

However, she may never collect half of his age 70 benefit, because only the worker spouse may benefit from their own delayed retirement increase. If the wife takes a spouse benefit now, it will remain at that level for ever---or until she chooses to switch back to her own retirement benefit once it has risen in value based on that 8% annual increasing. Even if she were to do nothing until her husband reaches 70 and then applied for a spouse benefit for the first time, she would still only receive 50% of his age 66 retirement benefit.

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 be so kind as to rate my service to you. That is the only way I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best this holiday season,

Doug