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LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37852
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
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Ok here goes. I'm 64 wife 62. Can she file now ss and

Customer Question

Ok here goes. I'm 64 wife 62. Can she file now for her ss and then when I'm 66 I file and suspend mine so she can get higher amount for spouse ss and then when I file at 70 can she re file for higher spouse amount
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.
Good morning,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
You have it almost correct. Let me explain.
If your wife chooses to take her social security retirement benefit now, she will be penalized for an early benefit of about 25% of the full retirement benefit that she would receive if she waited to age 66 (full retirement age). However, yes, she may apply for her benefit now and switch to a spouse benefit at a later time.
When you turn full retirement age and either start your own retirement benefit, or you file for benefits and suspend while your benefit continues to grow to age 70, your wife will be eligible to switch from her own retirement benefit to a spouse benefit. Part of her early benefit penalty will however carry over to the spouse benefit. Here is how that works:
Let’s say that your wife’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA)---the amount she could receive if she waited to full retirement age of 66--- is $1,000. She files for her own benefit at 62 and receives a reduced retirement benefit of $750.
And at 66 you have a PIA of $2500. She will be eligible to receive one-half of your PIA at her full retirement age. $2500 (your PIA); divided by two, that equals $1,250 (This is the full 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 she is receiving at the time of the switch in amount of $750 and her new benefit amount at full retirement age will be $1,000, which is less than the full spouse’s rate.
If she is only 64 at the time you turn 66 and file and suspend, she would receive even less of a bump from a spouse benefit. It really would only make sense for her to switch from her own benefit to a spouse benefit when she reaches age 66.
Under social security rules, a person may only switch retirement benefits once. And because a spouse benefit can only ever be a portion of the "full retirement benefit" of the worker spouse, the fact that you would receive more at age 70 than at 66 would never be a benefit to her spouse benefit. Again, she is prevented from getting a percentage of more than what your age 66 benefit might pay you.
Finally, if you predecease her, she will then be eligible to apply for a survivor benefit. The survivor benefit replaces any retirement benefit she may be receiving and the survivor benefit is equal to 100% of the amount of benefit you are receiving, or eligible to receive, as of the date of your passing. So your waiting to age 70 WILL have a beneficial financial effect for your wife if you die before she does.
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.
Kindly, remember to rate my service to you. That is how I am credited for assisting you.
I wish you and yours the best in 2015,

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