Social Security

Social Security, the tax code that even the employees can’t understand

Retirement Planner: Benefits For Your Spouse

Courtesy WWW.SSA.Gov

If You Or Your Spouse Are Full Retirement Age

If you are full retirement age, you can apply for retirement benefits and then request to have payments suspended. That way, your spouse can receive a spouse’s benefit and you can continue to earndelayed retirement credits until age 70.

           Note: Only one member of a couple can apply for retirement benefits and have payments            
suspended so his or her current spouse can collect benefits.

If your spouse has reached full retirement age and is eligible for a spouse’s benefit and his or her own retirement benefit, he or she has a choice. Your spouse can choose to receive only the spouse’s benefit when he or she applies online and delay receiving retirement benefits until a later date. If retirement benefits are delayed, a higher benefit may be received at a later date based on the effect of delayed retirement credits.

Note: If both you and your spouse are full retirement age, only one of you can choose to receive spouse’s benefits now and delay receiving your own benefits until a later date.

So, easy to understand: Apply for the higher benefit, have the other spouse apply for the “spousal benefit” (generally 50% of the larger number), then suspend the higher benefit and have it increase annually at 8% until age 70.
Works best where income differences have been material.  Two close income amounts, not such a great idea if ages are close. Oh, and you have got to appreciate a simplified explanation with so many hyperlinks. It’s about like reading the Internal Revenue Code.
More fun facts from the SSA:

Calculators: Life Expectancy

When you are considering when to collect retirement benefits, one important factor to take into account is how long you might live.

According to data compiled by the Social Security Administration:

  • A man reaching age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3.
  • A woman turning age 65 today can expect to live, on average, until age 86.6.

And those are just averages. About one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95.

So just hang in there until 65 and 3 out of 4 of your golf foursome will drop before you all reach 90. Something to look forward to.