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Date Add : 08-30-2011 

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Social Security Question:

Spouse Benefits for Social Security

Social Security Answer:

My wife is collecting SSDI because of a massive stroke in 2008 she was 62 at the time. Her FRA was 66. She received her SSDI benefits on time with no delays in Dec 2008. We are both 65 now and I plan to collect my Social Security Benefits at my FRA of 66. I plan to work at least one more year after starting Social Security at 66. What can we do to maximize our Social Security Benefits?

Many Thanks

Support Replied ~ 07-17-2011 19:31:14

Dear Larry:
You could file for benefits under her ssn, which is approximately 1/2 of what she receives and then take your full amount at age 70. You have no limit to what you can earn after age 66 and working will increase your amount. Call and find out what your age 70 amount would be....Also, you could collect your wifes and then switch to your own anytime between age 66 and age 70. Your amount increases until age 70, but if you want to collect the extra money, you could file for your own earlier.....The spouses benefit do not decrease what you will get on your own. Remember to file at age 66 because if you do opt to receive earlier than your full retirement age, the spouses benefit is not an option and you will have to file on your own. Good Luck....Carol
Your Comment ~ 07-18-2011 07:58:40

Hi Carol,

Thanks for the very prompt and helpful response.

A few followup questions as this is sort of confusing. First, why was I not informed by the personnel at the local Social Security office about being able to file for benefits under my wife's ssn when she was determined disabled and will I receive back benefits to the time of her disability determination, just curious? Second, To file under her ssn do I just visit the local Social Security Office and inform them I want to file? Third, will the benefits to me from her ssn stop when I file for my benefits under my ssn at 66? Fourth, when I file for my benefits at 66 can my wife file under my ssn to receive spousal benefits also?

Many Thanks

Support Replied ~ 07-19-2011 12:43:34

Dear Larry:
This option is only open to you if you wait until your full retirement age to file for spouses benefits....You must be age 66 to be able to file under her account and not have your earnings matter. Your own SS grows until you are age 70.....You can either stay on her account until that or file anytime between 66 to 70 on your own account.
When you file on your own account, the spouses benefits will stop.
This might not be a viable option if your amount is a great deal more than her amount.
Remember, you are giving up your age 66 amount for "X" amount of months and taking her spouses benefits which are 1/2 of what she receives on her disability. See if the less amount you are taking prior to age 70 is made up within 8 years after your age 70. This procedure cannot be done until you are age 66 so you cannot go back to her date of disability. You could make an appointment either by phone or in person and discuss what I have told you....If the person does not know what you are taking about...Ask to speak to a supervisor...If you have further trouble....Write back.....Carol

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DISCLAIMER - You should consult with your local Social Security Office before acting upon any information received as a response to your question on "Social Security Advisor".

"Social Security Advisor" is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. It is offered with the understanding that neither the publisher nor the author is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, investment or other professional advice or services.

Information obtained from, including e-mail responses from "Social Security Advisor" should be considered as general educational information. You must never rely upon the advice given here. Your individual situation may not fit the generalizations discussed. Only your local Social Security office can evaluate your individual situation and give you advice.

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Thank you so much. The amount of infomation you provided on our call went a long way in helping to resolve the issues I had with the social security rep I was working with.
Tom F. 01-18-2020

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