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Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 10100
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial, Social Security & Tax advice since 1986
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When can my wife get half of my benifits, my wife took her

Customer Question

when can my wife get half of my benifits
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Please tell me more, so we can help you best.
Customer: my wife took her benefits at 62. i took mine at 65, when does she get half of mine.
JA: Is there anything else the Retirement Accountant should be aware of?
Customer: no
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 1 month ago.

Hi. I can help with this. My name's Lane

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There are a couple of issues here.

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First, it's important to understand that benefits cannot be "stacked," as Social Security puts it. When someone becomes elligible and files for a benefit, while already receiving a benefit, Social Security will ALWAYS that that person UP TO that higher benefit, by paying a combination of benefits, thet raises the benefit to a higher level.

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You can read about that here, from Social Security's site, "Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse"

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https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html

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Thes second issue is that becasu she took her benefits early he ability to take the spousal benefit later MAY be affected by a formula called "excess spousal benefit."

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If your benefit is MUCH higher than hers there can still be an increase, nut it COULD be limited.

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Bear with me for a moment and I'll get the regs on that

Expert:  Lane replied 1 month ago.

Normally the spouse's benefit is 50% of the spouse's Full Retirement Age (FRA) benefit amount, reduced if the spouse claiming the spousal is filing for benefits early.

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But again, if one spouse is already receiving their own benefits, and later becomes eligible for a spousal benefit, there is a formula that is used to determine what amount of spousal benefit (if any) they may receive.

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Let's work through an example. Lets say that the younger spouse claimed at 62. Her FRA amount was $800, but because she claimed early she received $600 per month in benefits. ($800/.75 represents the reduction she receives for claiming before her FRA.) The older spouse will claim when he turns 66. His PIA is $2,100.

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To get the amount that can be added to your wifes benefit when filing for spousal benefits, take the older spouse'sFRA amount divided by 2, minus the younger spouse's FRA amount. $2,100/2 = $1,050 - $800 = $250.

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When her husband files for benefits and she becomes eligible for a spousal, that $250 gets added to what she is currently receiving so her monthly benefit will go from $600 to $850 at that time.

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If she had waited until her own FRA to file benefits, she would have received the full spousal benefit of $1,050, as that would have been higher than her own FRA benefit amount of $800.

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Of course she would have had to forego the first four years of benefits in order to then receive the higher amount. In this particular case, it likely made sense for her to file early.

Expert:  Lane replied 1 month ago.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

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And if you DON'T have other questions Your positive rating … (by using those the stars or faces on your screen, and then clicking “submit”) …would be appreciated!

Otherwise I receive no compensation for the work.

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Thank you,

Lane

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I hold a law degree, with concentration in Tax Law, Estate law & Corporate law, an MBA, with specialization in financial accounting & tax, a BBA, and CFP & CRPS designations, as well - I’ve been providing financial, Social Security/Medicare, estate, corporate, non-profit, and tax advice, since 1986

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