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Can My Wife Take Early Social Security Retirement Benefits Before Spousal Benefits?


At present’s column addresses questions on taking decreased retirement advantages earlier than later spousal advantages, whether or not there is a greatest time of the yr to retirement and the potential availability of spousal advantages after a divorce. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston College and the founder and president of Financial Safety Planning, Inc.

See extra Ask Larry answers here.

Have Social Safety questions of your personal you’d like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.


Can My Spouse Take Early Social Safety Retirement Advantages Earlier than Spousal Advantages?

Hello Larry, I am planning on taking my Social Safety retirement profit at 70 since my spouse is 4 years youthful and this manner she’ll have greater survivor advantages if she survives me. My spouse does have retirement advantages however they’re lower than half of mine. If she takes her retirement advantages earlier than her FRA, can she take the spousal later at her FRA or would she be deemed to be taking each? Thanks, Duncan

Hello Duncan, Since your spouse was apparently born after 1/1/1954, she could not file for both her personal Social Safety retirement advantages or for spousal advantages with out being deemed to be submitting for each advantages. However she could not truly qualify for spousal advantages till you begin drawing your retirement advantages. So in case your spouse recordsdata for her retirement advantages earlier than you begin drawing yours, she’ll be deemed to have utilized for spousal advantages when you file in your retirement advantages.

Your spouse may file for her retirement advantages any time after she reaches 62, but when she begins drawing her advantages previous to her full retirement age (FRA), her profit fee can be decreased for age. And that discount will proceed for so long as each of you might be residing even when she later qualifies for spousal advantages.

You and your spouse could need to think about using my firm’s software program — Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner — to totally analyze the choices out there to you in an effort to decide your greatest technique for maximizing your advantages. Social Safety calculators offered by different corporations or non-profits could present correct strategies in the event that they have been constructed with excessive care. Finest, Larry


When Would Be The Finest Time Of The 12 months For Me To Retire?

Hello Larry, I’m 70 nonetheless working and and utilized for my Social Safety retirement advantages three months earlier than turning 70. I plan to retire in 5 years. When is the perfect time of the yr for me to retire? On my seventy fifth birthday? Six months into the yr or finish of the yr?

Additionally, being divorced I used to be eligible for spousal advantages. After the second yr of receiving spousal advantages, SSA knowledgeable me that I used to be overpaid and must pay them again. The profit quantity was virtually reduce in half. I appealed because it was their computation that made the error.

Do I’ve grounds for such enchantment? It’s been two years since I appealed and situation has not been resolved. Thanks, Allan

Hello Allan, So far as Social Safety advantages are involved, it actually would not make a lot if any distinction what time of the yr you retire. Because you’re over full retirement age (FRA), you’ll be able to draw all your advantages regardless of how a lot you earn, in order that’s not a priority. The one potential distinction can be in case your earnings within the yr of your retirement can be excessive sufficient to extend your profit fee.

Social Safety retirement advantages are primarily based on a median of an individual’s highest 35 years of Social Safety coated wage-indexed earnings, so extra years of earnings solely improve an individual’s profit fee in the event that they’re greater than a number of of the 35 years at present getting used to calculate the particular person’s profit fee.

So far as the enchantment of your overpayment, there isn’t any means for me to know why you may need been overpaid. Whenever you enchantment an overpayment, although, you are questioning the actual fact or quantity of the overpayment. So if it is decided that there was the truth is an overpayment, an enchantment would not wipe out your legal responsibility for reimbursement even if you happen to weren’t at fault in inflicting the overpayment.

The difficulty of fault is barely materials when an individual asks for waiver (i.e. forgiveness) of an overpayment. However to have your overpayment waived, along with being with out fault in inflicting the overpayment, you’d have to both be financially unable to repay the overpayment or restoration of the overpayment must be thought of in opposition to fairness and good conscience based on Social Safety’s guidelines.

When you assume that you could be qualify for waiver of your overpayment, you need to in all probability contact Social Safety to debate your choices. Finest, Larry


If My Spouse And I Get Divorced Or Separate, Will My Spouse Nonetheless Be Ready To Declare Spousal Advantages?

Hello Larry: I can be 70 in September. My spouse turns 74 this month. I’ve not claimed my Social Safety retirement profit but and my spouse has no incomes credit on her personal so will solely have the ability to declare spousal advantages. We have been married in late 2014.

If we get divorced or separate earlier than I flip 70, will my spouse have the ability to declare spousal advantages? If we get divorced or separate after I begin gathering my retirement profit and my spouse begins spousal advantages however we then divorce with lower than 10 years of marriage, will my spouse lose her spousal profit? Thanks, Liam

Hello Liam, Your spouse may nonetheless qualify for spousal advantages even if you happen to separate, so long as you aren’t getting divorced. She wouldn’t, nonetheless, qualify for spousal advantages if you happen to get divorced, until your marriage lasts for at the least 10 years.

When you get get divorced earlier than you begin drawing your advantages, your spouse could not qualify for any spousal, divorced spousal or survivor advantages in case your marriage lasted for fewer than 10 years. When you divorce after you begin drawing your advantages and in case your marriage lasts lower than 10 years, your spouse’s eligibility for advantages in your account would finish efficient with the month that your divorce is ultimate. Finest, Larry




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