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Spousal Social Security Benefit

Q: Can my spouse start her full Social Security when she turns 66 and when I start my Social Security when I turn 67 can she shift hers to a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit only? We are considering this as a strategy. After that, when she turns 70, can she go back to her own claim and, if so, will it have continued to grow at 8% per year or will it be only what she started claiming before she switched to the Spousal Benefit?

A: I recommend we discuss your question over the phone so I can have a better handle on your spouse’s Full Retirement Age Benefit at 66 and your Full Retirement Age Benefit at 66.

To answer your question, your wife cannot file for her lifetime benefit at 66 and then switch to her spousal benefit only when you turn 67, and then switch back to her lifetime benefit at age 70.

You have the following two options to consider:

Option 1:
You file for your lifetime benefit at 66
Your wife files for her spousal benefit at 66
Your wife switches to her lifetime benefit at age 70 (which has grown by 8% each year from 66 to 70)

Option 2:
Your wife files for her lifetime benefit at 66
You file for your spousal benefit at age 67
You file for your lifetime benefit at age 70 (which has grown by 8% each year from 67 to 70)

These two options are mutually exclusive. This means that you can only do one or the other, but you can’t do both. If you would like to schedule a phone call with me, I can run an optimization for you to help you make a decision on the best way to file.


 

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