A primer on Social Security spousal benefits
Robert Powell, Special for USA TODAY 10:00 a.m. ET Dec. 9, 2016
Social Security spousal benefits are subject to age restrictions.(Photo: iStockphoto)
Q: I am 69, and I started drawing my Social Security benefits when I was 66. My husband, who is 62, is still working. My question: Can he draw on my Social Security benefits (receiving 50%) until he is 66? Can we get the forms on the Internet? He works the third shift and asked if I could help him since Social Security offices are not open at night. — Carolyn Farlow, Reno
A: Bad news times three.
First, if your husband takes spousal Social Security at 62, he doesn’t get 50% of your payment, he only gets 35%, because of early filing, says Andy Landis, author of Social Security: The Inside Story: An Expert Explains Your Rights and Benefits. “He would have to wait until 66 to start the Social Security to get the full 50% payment,” Landis says.
Read Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse, under “How much will I receive?”
Second, Landis says if your husband files before 66 he has to file for both the spousal and his own Social Security. “That means there would be a permanent reduction in both kinds of payments,” he says.
And third, since your husband is under 66, his work can reduce his Social Security even further, says Landis. Learn more at How Work Affects Your Benefits.
After all those cautions, your husband might still choose to file for Social Security, says Landis. If so, you can get started at Apply for Benefits. Before you do, you might run your situation through a free adviser such as that found at the Financial Engines website.
Says Landis: “Congratulations for planning ahead.”
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- ^ Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse (www.ssa.gov)
- ^ How Work Affects Your Benefits (www.ssa.gov)
- ^ Apply for Benefits (secure.ssa.gov)
- ^ website (corp.financialengines.com)