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Ask Christopher B, Esq. Your Own Question
Christopher B, Esq.
Christopher B, Esq., Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 2963
Experience:  associate attorney
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My husband is 62 and working very little, earning only about

Customer Question

my husband is 62 and working very little, earning only about $2400 a year for past few years. I am 61 and am working full time. my social security benefits are much larger than his. if he takes early retirement at 62 he will get $911 a year. if he takes his own benefits at 62 would he be able to increase his benefits to take my spousal benefits (50% of my benefits will be more than than the $911 he can get at 62) when i retire in 5 years or more at 66 or more?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

y name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney client relationship.

Yes he could, he cannot take the spousal benefit until you start taking your retirement benefit. The law recently changed eliminating the "file and suspend" on May 1, 2016 which neither of your would be eligible for. You are grandfathered into the restricted benefit if your spouse was 62 by December 31, 2015. The restricted benefit would be elected at full retirement age. Essentially he could take his benefit now and then at full retirement restrict his benefit and only elect to take the spousal benefit. This would mean that his benefit would be suspended and he could receive your higher spousal benefit (this would happen anyway as he would take the higher of the spousal benefit and the normal retirement benefit) but this restriction would allow your spouse to gain credits from age 66-70 (he would gain 8% to his benefit for each year). So to answer your question yes he can take his early retirement now (subject to the early retirement reduction) and then switch to your higher spousal benefit when you choose to take your retirement benefit.

Please let me know if you have any further questions and please positively rate my answer as it is the only way I will be compensated for my time by the site.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
to Christopher Boyer, E == my husband just turned 62 on 1-10-2016, does that change your answer?
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, he would not be grandfathered into the restricted benefit as he had to turn 62 by Dec. 31, 2015. He will not be able to increase his benefits when he hits full retirement age as he will be forced to take the higher of 1) his spousal benefits 2) his normal retirement. Therefore he would not be able to gain credits from ages 66-70. He is still free to take the spousal benefit at that time (it would be 50% of your benefit only if you elected at that time) if it is higher than his normal retirement benefit. So the only difference is he cannot restrict his benefit and choose to only take the spousal benefit.