Q & A

I am two years older than my wife and the higher lifetime earner. Our Social Security plan is for me to delay my benefits but take spousal benefits when my wife reaches full retirement age (FRA) in three years, then switch to mine at age 70. Because my wife is 63 and wants to start her benefits, how will her start of benefits affect the spousal benefit I will receive? I think I will receive 50% of her FRA amount, but if she starts early, will it be 50% of that lower amount?

Answer: Congratulations on discovering a great strategy for you both, says Andy Landis, president of Thinking Retirement in Seattle and author of Social Security: The Inside Story, 2014 Edition: An Expert Explains Your Rights and Benefits. If you file for your spousal benefit at your full retirement age (66) or above, your spousal benefit will be 50% of your wife’s age-66 payment, not 50% of her reduced age-63 payment, says Landis. “You can draw the spousal-only payment until you reach 70, then apply for your own payment,” he says.  “By then your own payment will be 132% of your age-66 payment.” Read more…

Source: Robert Powell, via www.usatoday.com)

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