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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 36348
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 am 67 and have not filed benefits. My wife is 63 and has

Customer Question

I am 67 and have not filed for retirement benefits. My wife is 63 and has filed for retirement benefits based on her own record. She is receiving a reduced benefit of $1,012 per month. Today I filed for my "spousal benefit", NOT my retirement benefit. This benefit was not only approved but I was also able to receive a 6 month lump sum retroactive payment. I will get this spousal benefit every month for the next three years until I reach 70.This was great ! Also, by not filing for my retirement benefit I am eligible for the delayed retirement credit which let me increase my final retirement benefit by 8% a year until I reach 70. The problem lies with my spouse. I was under the impression that she would receive 1/2 of my retirement benefit when I claim my retirement benefit when I reach 70. I assumed this because 1/2 of my entitlement at age 70 would be greater as a spousal benefit then what she is claiming now as a reduced benefit on her own record. I was told "NO" by the social security rep and that my wife will NEVER get more then she is already receiving because my wife has already claimed for retirement and that it would not amount to more then 1/2 of what I will be receiving when I eventually claim at age 70. The numbers don't add up. By waiting until I am 70 the amount my wife would get as a spousal benefit would be $600 a month more then she is getting now on her current reduced benefit. Can you help me with this please ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon Pete,

I'm Doug, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

You wrote: I was told "NO" by the social security rep and that my wife will NEVER get more then she is already receiving because my wife has already claimed for retirement and that it would not amount to more then 1/2 of what I will be receiving when I eventually claim at age 70. What you were told was not correct. You wife will never get 50% of your age 70 retirement benefit, and because she applied for a retirement benefit early she will always carry a penalty. But she may apply for a spouse benefit at age 66 and receive potentially more than she is receiving now. Let me explain.

Let’s say your wife's Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) is $1,000. She filed for her own benefit at 62 and received a reduced retirement benefit of $750.

Also presume that you, her husband, have a PIA of $2500. At 66 she are eligible to receive one-half of your PIA. $2500 (your PIA); divided by two, that equals $1,250 (This is your her spouse’s rate). Social Security will subtract from the $1250 (the full spouse’s rate) – $1000 (her PIA) = $250.

Social Security will add that $250 to her reduced retirement benefit amount of $750 and her new benefit amount at full retirement age will be $1,000, which is a bit less than the full spouse’s rate, but hundreds more than you are presently receiving.

Obviously you will have to do the math on your own numbers but she may qualify for a spouse benefit at 66 and it may well pay her more than she is receiving now.

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.

I hope that I have been able to fully answer your question. 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 in 2016,

Doug

Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good afternoon,

Do you have any additional questions that you would like me to address for you? In case you would like a phone call to further discuss these issues you have raised, I will make that offer to you. You are certainly not obligated to accept a call offer, but many people do find it helpful for clarification purposes, as well as to allow them to ask additional questions.

If I have provided you with the information you asked for, would you please now rate my service to you so I can be compensated for assisting you?

Thanks in advance,

Doug