2 Replies Latest reply on May 2, 2011 6:18 PM by jkom51

    Rules for couples and social security


      I am 58 and will be working for at least another ten-fifteen years (unless I am run over by a truck). Even now, am eligible for much higher payments than my husband (now 60) who plans at 62 soon since he is being laid off anyhow, has some health issues.

      My understanding is that once I retire and receive the maximum (highest) monthly payment, my husband would get a much lower monthly payment even if he was currently eligible (and receiving) the highest payment. Is that true?

      Is there any point in my husband's delaying receiving social security til 67 or 70? He would get about 550$/month if he retired at the earliest time possible.

      If any of you can help us think intelligently about this, I'd appreciate it....


        • Re: Rules for couples and social security
          The penalty for taking SS at 62 instead of your full retirement age (probably 66) is pretty steep. I think it is about 1/4 - 1/3 but that is better answered by the SS folks. And the spouse who depends on the one that takes SS at 62 is also steeply penalized. There are also strategies where one spouse takes the spousal benefit and then at their full age switches to their own if the benefit is higher.

          Waiting until after your full retirement age increases the benefit nicely. But you need to decide whether you can hold out that long and whether your health will allow you to regain the lost income from 62 or 66 until you  take SS.

          We both took SS at 62 and took the penalties so that we had enough cash until the IRA's kick in at 70 1/2 and grow until then. But don't take that as a recommendation since your situation should govern those choices.

          SS is some of the most complicated law in my opinion (can't compare to IRA law though). Be sure you educate yourself and talk in depth with SS before doing something that is hard to or can't be undone.
          • Re: Rules for couples and social security

            You DH would be taking early retirement on HIS SocSec, not yours. He could only apply for the spouse's benefit (50% of yours) IF you were already taking SocSec, which you are not.

            Once you begin taking SocSec, you DH can contact SocSec and find out if the spouse's benefit would be higher than what he is currently receiving. I believe under current laws - which are subject to any changes Congress may make in the next few years - he can take the higher of whichever benefit.

            You can read further details at: http://moneyover55.about.com/od/socialsecuritybenefits/a/socialsecurityspousebenefit.htm