Can Spouses Mix Their Social Security Benefits?

By on April 25, 2014 in Q&A, Retirement with 1 Comment

Q: Can my spouse already drawing her own Social Security benefit draw 1/2 of my Social Security at my full retirement age while I continue to work and then I can draw 1/2 of her Social Security benefit (based on my Social Security). This would mean I would be getting 1/4 of my benefit without drawing Social Security while each year the benefit would increase 8% until age 70?

A: You can’t do it the way you suggest.  It’s not “and;”  it’s “or.”

You can EITHER file for your SSA at your full retirement age and voluntarily suspend your benefits until age 70. This allows your spouse to file for and receive her spouse’s benefit through you while your benefit increases 8% per year. This option prevents you from receiving benefits from your spouse as suspending your benefits is different from not being eligible for the benefits.

OR you don’t file for your SS retirement benefit at all but file a restricted application for just spouse’s benefits and receive benefit through her record. In this case, she does not receive benefits from your record until you actually file and start receiving benefits, presumably at age 70.

John Grobe’s latest book, The Answer Book on Your Federal Employee Benefits, has just been released by LRP Publications. The book is written in an easy to understand question and answer format and covers all areas of federal benefits from the perspective of an employee at various stages of their career. Order your copy at shoplrp.com.

© 2016 John Grobe. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from John Grobe.

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About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a consulting firm that specializes in federal retirement and career transition issues. He is also affiliated with TSP Safety Net. John retired from federal service after 25 years of progressively more responsible human resources positions. He is the author of Understanding the Federal Retirement Systems and Career Transition: A Guide for Federal Employees, both published by the Federal Management Institute. Federal Career Experts provides pre-retirement seminars for a wide variety of federal agencies.

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