Dear Retirement Adviser,
Here is a question that no one else seems to be able to answer: If my spouse takes Social Security benefits based on her own record at age 62, even though her full retirement age is 66, will she get the full spousal benefit when we both file for spousal benefits at our actual full retirement ages? I believe her payment would be half of my own benefit.
- John Jump-start
It's actually not that difficult a question. When a spouse files for Social Security benefits before her full retirement age, her benefits are typically based on her work record. If she also qualifies for a spousal benefit and that benefit is more than what's based on her work record, then she receives a combination of the two benefits for a total equal to the spousal benefit.
Secrets to a Prepared Retirement
Mentally preparing for retirement
The secret to a happy retirement
401(k)s Without Matching Contributions: Worth It?
Medicare Rules for those Still Working
Many Americans Plan to Work ‘Until They Die’
Mass Affluent Focusing More on Retirement, Less on Debt
Roth IRAs, Annuities and Your Retirement
Where Boomers Should be Investing Now
Why Some People Fear they May Never Retire
Don't forget about the taxes on your retirement income
Ready to Retire? Answer these 7 Questions First
Among married couples, when one or both spouses file for benefits prior to their full retirement age, neither can opt for a particular benefit. Also, they can't switch to a different benefit at full retirement age.
If your wife waits until her full retirement age to claim benefits, she can choose to receive full spousal benefits while earning delayed retirement credits on her work record until age 70. While you can choose to "file and suspend" at your full retirement age to earn delayed retirement credits based on your work record, you both cannot receive a spousal benefit.
I hope that helps!
Get more news, money-saving tips and expert advice by signing up for a free Bankrate newsletter.
Ask the adviser
Copyright 2013, Bankrate Inc.