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Social Security Spousal Benefits Question
Old 03-11-2019, 11:26 AM   #1
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Social Security Spousal Benefits Question

I thought I had a good handle on the calculation of spousal benefits, but ran across something today that left me with new questions. I hope I can word this in a way that makes sense.

I plan to apply for my social security benefits early at age 62, with reduced benefits around $600 per month.

Five years later, my wife will take her social security early at age 62, with reduced benefits around $1500 per month. Her full retirement age benefit is around $2000 per month.

I won't be eligible for spousal benefits until she applies for her own benefits, so I will be 67 when she applies for her benefits at 62.

Will my spousal benefit be around $650 (32.71% of her FRA) since I filed for my own benefits early at age 62, or will my spousal benefit be around $1000 (50% of her FRA) since I will be 67 when she files at 62?

Social Security says you are "deemed" for all benefits you are eligible for when you apply. So I assumed I would receive the former $650 spousal benefit when my wife applies since I applied for my own benefits early. Is that correct?
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Old 03-11-2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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Check this out with SS, but here is what we were told (and what happened to us.) You will receive the higher of your benefit at that time - (5 years hence) OR half your DW's benefit REDUCED because you took your benefit at 62. In our case, even though DW got much less than half my @70 benefit, her benefit (on her record) was MORE than half mine REDUCED because she started at 62. Hope this is accurate (it is for us - so I REALLY hope it's accurate). Again ask the experts at SS. Spend an hour with them. It's worth the time (and trouble) but YMMV.
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Old 03-11-2019, 05:12 PM   #3
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Koolau is correct. You will receive a reduced amount because when you first filed for SS you were less than full retirement age.
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Old 03-12-2019, 10:15 AM   #4
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I got spanked last time for suggesting this on this board, but the spanking did not include a correction for why it is wrong (thus I still think its right).
I oversimplified spousal benefits into the following rules:
1. Spousal benefits (lower earner) are always a % of the higher earners PIA/FRA benefit, regardless of when the higher earner starts their benefit. (ex. spousal benefits do not go up if the higher earner delays their benefits until age 70.)
2. Spousal benefit can not start until the higher earner starts their benefits.
3. Spousal benefits max at 50% of the higher earners PIA/FRA benefit when the spouse delays collecting any benefits until spouse reaches their FRA. If the spouse starts their own benefits before the spouses FRA, the spousal benefit will be reduced.
see https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html


Please correct me if this is wrong.


Based on this, the OP "spousal benefit be around $650 (32.71% of her FRA) since I filed for my own benefits early at age 62".
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Spock View Post
2. Spousal benefit can not start until the higher earner starts their benefits.
3. Spousal benefits max at 50% of the higher earners PIA/FRA benefit when the spouse delays collecting any benefits until spouse reaches their FRA.
So as I read this, if my spouse is eligible for 50% of my PIA/FRA (assume larger than her PIA) and this amount will not increase, she still cannot start collecting it at her FRA if I elect to defer and must wait until I start my benefit.

I realize that it is all probably actuarially equivalent but is my reading of this correct?
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbervest View Post
So as I read this, if my spouse is eligible for 50% of my PIA/FRA (assume larger than her PIA) and this amount will not increase, she still cannot start collecting it at her FRA if I elect to defer and must wait until I start my benefit.

I realize that it is all probably actuarially equivalent but is my reading of this correct?
That is correct. BUT, I believe she can file for her own at her own full retirement age and then when you file she will be able to switch over to spousal at that time since she will not be eligible until then - so deemed filing wouldn't come into play.
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