Today’s Social Security column addresses questions about whether or not it may be worth delaying filing until full retirement age (FRA), the effects on other benefits when the higher-earning spouse files, and how benefits are calculated. conjugal. Larry Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc.
see more Ask Larry answers here.
Have your own Social Security questions you’d like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.
Is there a good reason for my wife to wait until her FRA to receive Social Security?
Hi Larry, When should my wife apply for her benefits? I’m planning to take my retirement benefit this spring, which is a couple of months before my 68th birthday. My wife is two years younger than me and her benefit based on her work history is slightly less than her spousal benefit would be. Is there a good reason for her to wait to file her FRA in the fall instead of filing it when I do in the spring? Thank you Kevin
Hi Kevin, Claiming benefits 10 months before Full Retirement Age (FRA) would cause your wife to receive a lower monthly benefit rate than her FRA rate for as long as you both live. Whether or not you consider that a good reason to wait is largely a matter of perspective.
The exact percentage difference between your spouse’s benefit rate in the spring and not in the fall depends on the exact number of months before you file your FRA and how close your primary insurance amount (PIA) is to 50%. the amount of your primary insurance (PIA). ), which is equal to her retirement benefit at her full retirement age.
And those two options certainly aren’t the only ones your wife should consider. You and your wife may want to consider using my company’s software: Maximize my Social Security either MaxiFi Planner — to ensure your household receives the highest benefits for life. Social Security calculators provided by other companies or nonprofit organizations can provide adequate suggestions if they are carefully constructed. best, larry
Can my wife and daughter transfer their benefits to my account when I apply for my benefits?
Hi Larry, My 30 year old daughter has a Childhood Disability and initially claimed benefits for my wife’s disability and now for her retirement. My wife is 69 years old. I am three years younger than my wife and will apply at 70. Can my daughter and wife collect on my record once I apply, assuming all three benefits are below the family maximum? Also, what percentage of my benefit would they now and ultimately receive as a survivor? Thanks Chuck
Hi Chuck, your daughter’s Childhood Disability Benefit (CDB) may be changed to your record when you start collecting your retirement benefits, but your wife cannot change from receiving retirement benefits to receiving spousal benefits. However, she could claim a spousal benefit in excess of her record when she files the claim. Her spouse’s excess spousal amount would be calculated by subtracting her primary insurance amount (PIA) from 50% of her PIA. A person’s PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they begin collecting benefits from them at full retirement age (FRA).
As long as your wife has not collected reduced retirement benefits from Social Security, her own benefit plus the excess of your spousal benefit would add up to 50% of your PIA. Your daughter’s CDB rate would also be equal to 50% of your PIA, although both your daughter’s CDB payment and the excess amount of your wife’s spousal payment may be subject to a reduction due to the Family Maximum Benefit (FMB
In the event of your death, your daughter’s CDB rate would increase to 75% of your PIA, and your wife’s combined retirement and survival rate would add up to 100% of your total benefit rate. However, survivor benefits are also potentially subject to reduction due to the Family Maximum Benefit (FMB). best, larry
When I reach full retirement age, will my spousal benefit be half my husband’s amount at age 66 or half his benefit amount at the time I apply?
Hi Larry, my husband is 70 years old and just applied for his retirement benefit. I am 63 years old. When I reach the age of majority, will my spousal benefit be 50% of my husband’s benefit when he was 66 or 50% of his current benefit at the time I apply? thanks kim
Hi Kim, assuming you don’t qualify for Social Security retirement benefits on your own record, then you would be eligible for 50% of your husband’s Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) if you file for spousal benefits at your Full Retirement Age (FRA). ). A person’s PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they begin collecting benefits at full retirement age (FRA). Her spousal benefit will not be 50% of your increased benefit taken at age 70.
PIAs are updated to include all cost-of-living increases (COLAs) that occur after the worker turns 62, and their spousal rate will be calculated based on 50% of their spouse’s PIA amount at the time of the worker’s application. best, larry
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