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Lane
Lane, JD,CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 12684
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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I am 64 (Born 4/18/52) and my wife is 62 (Born 11/29/53),

Customer Question

I am 64 (Born 4/18/52) and my wife is 62 (Born 11/29/53), she just quit working, if she applies now for social security benefits for herself. Can later when I reach full retirement age 66 (when she reaches 66) if she changes over to mine will she get half of what I will get at full retirement or will it be figured on when she started collecting ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

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The way this works DOES have to do with the fact that she started her early.

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There's a formula that's calculated based on the difference between her full retirement age benefit, (FRA), what that would have been had she waited) and your FRA benefit.

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If you'll bear with me, I'll get the formula

Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

This is called the Excess Spousal,or Supplemental Spousal, Benefit.

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Normally, as you mentioned, the spousal benefit is 50% of the spouse's FRA benefit amount 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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This is best explained using an example:

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Let's say the the wife 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.)

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And say, the husband will claim when he turns 66. His FRA amount is $2,100.

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To get to excess spousal benefit you take the husband's FRA amount divided by 2, minus the the FRA amount. ...So, $2,100/2 = $1,050 - $800 = $250.

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When the husband spouse files for benefits and the she eligible for a spousal, that $250 gets added to what she's currently getting so the 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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But 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 year ago.

This CAN be (unless there's a pretty wide disparity) between the two benefits, one of the larger "gotcha's" out there from sociual security.

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When there's not a lot of difference, the formula generates a negative number, so there's nothing added at all (SSA treats that as a zero).

Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

I hope you’ll rate me (using those stars, or faces on your screen, and clicking submit) based on thoroughness and accuracy, rather than any good news / bad news content.

Otherwise, I’m working for no crediting here at all..

But if there’s something you don’t understand, or you need clarification, please let me know

Thank you!

Lane

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

Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

Did you see my answer?

Expert:  Lane replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

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I’m just checking back in to see how things are going.

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Did my answer help?

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Let me know…

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Thanks

Lane