32 Replies Latest reply on Nov 10, 2012 11:39 AM by jimslu52

    Collecting on spouse's ss

    tonyswife
      My husband started collecting ss at his full retirement age (65).  I would like to retire at 62 and heard that I can hold off collecting my own benefit and collect 50% of his benefit.  Is this true?  His benefit would not be affected and I could delay collecting my full benefit at 66.  There was an article in the AARP mag a while ago with this info.  Seems too good to be true.  Anyone know about this little gem??
        • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
          Dick4843
          If you haven't done so already, I suggest going to the SSA website page on retirement: http://www.ssa.gov/planners/index.htm#a0=5 
          If you can't find the information there, go to your local Social Security office and talk to them. Don't file until you fully understand the pros and cons. Once you start receiving benefits you can't change your mind.
            • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
              I have little different twist on this question.  My wife is already full retirement age but does not have enough working quarters to collect SS on her own.  I will be 62 in a couple of months.  Can I sign up for SS at the reduced payments so that she can start collecting spousal benefits on my SS and then suspend my SS payments until I reach full retirement.
               
              Secondly, will my reinstatement of receiving payments after I turn 66 result in higher payments for both of us? 
            • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
              PaulaAlice
              I am collecting half of my husband's SS but both husband and wife must be full retirement age to do this.  My husband was 66 three months before me, and he had started taking his SS at 64 1/2.  I had to wait until I turned 66 before I could begin this process.  It took about three trips to the local SS office and numerous phone calls to SS but I have been drawing half of my husband's SS since I turned 66.  I plan to draw his until I am 70 then switch to mine. 
                • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                  ladyjustice
                  Now this situation worked out well for the both of you.
                   
                  Congratualtions!
                  Lady J
                  • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                    tonyswife
                    That is interesting since SS told me as long as I was at least 62 and spouse started collecting at full retirement age, I can collect half of his and delay mine.  Now I'm not sure who to believe!! 
                      • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                        pc17701
                        I understand that I can collect my 'ex's SSI at 62.  I have not talked to anyone yet.  We were married 28 years, and I have not remarried, so I do qualify.  I do not know if 'he' has to be of retirement age though.  He is 2 years younger.
                         
                        It will be fun to find out.  I have about 6 months to wonder if it will work out.
                         
                        pc
                        • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                          HappyOne
                          It is my understanding that the most optimal timimg for collection on spouse's benefits is as follows:
                           
                          Spouse needs to be full retirement age and can be collecting or do a "file and hold"
                          The other spouse needs to be at least full retirement age as well and then he/she can file for 50% of the other's benefits while placing his/her on hold till age 70
                           
                          Hope this helps!
                           
                            • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                              EBL
                              HappyOne said...
                              It is my understanding that the most optimal timimg for collection on spouse\'s benefits is as follows:
                               
                              Spouse needs to be full retirement age and can be collecting or do a \"file and hold\"
                              The other spouse needs to be at least full retirement age as well and then he/she can file for 50% of the other\'s benefits while placing his/her on hold till age 70
                               
                              Hope this helps!
                               
                              This is correct.  Except it is called "file and suspend."  
                            • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                              Knicksen
                                You can collect if your spouse has reached full retirement age and you reached 62and 1 month.  But you do not receive 50% of his benefit. You will get a reduced amount at 62 and 1 month (this is because you started collecting before full retirement age). I think it is approximately a 30% reduction or 35% of his regular benefit.  The figures are on the SS web site and I they have a calculator you can use.  
                               
                            • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                              FrederickMichael
                              You should have gotten 50% of his full "Primary Insurance Amount," not 50% of what he gets, which is reduced by his early retirement choice. This should amount to about 55% of what he gets, given that he retired at 64 & 6 months.
                               
                              This seems absolutely clear on the SS website. If that's not right, please post a reply.
                                • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                  swcole99
                                  I've been reading the string of notes about collecting on a spouse's SS and have been trying, unsuccessfully,  to understand how it works.  Let me pose a simple question - wife started collecting her own SS at 62.  Husband still works and will file for SS at age 66 for full benefit.  Can wife collect half of husband's SS now?
                                  • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                    PaulaAlice
                                    You are correct. I am receiving half of what his full retirement would have been had he waited until he was 66 to begin drawing.
                                    • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                      Unfortunately, I know from my own experience that you do collect 50% of his actual check.  If your spouse retired early that reduces your benefit as a spouse permanently.  You will only be entitled to 50% of his actual benefit.  I wish I had known this earlier as we could have waited for my husband to start collecting his benefit. 
                                        • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                          FrederickMichael
                                          Then SS owes you a pile of money and you're going to be able to get it by going to SS and getting this resolved. This is not a matter of debate or uncertainty. If you wait until YOUR 66th birthday and then file for spousal benefits (and your spouse has filed by that time) then you get half of his full retirement benefit, not half of his reduced payment.
                                           
                                          People make mistakes. Get this corrected and you'll have a lot of cash.
                                            • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                              I haven't taken my retirement yet- I am only 61- but I called Social Security to ask what my options were at different ages and they told me that at any age my spousal benefit would be based on his reduced benefit.  He took his at 62 about 10 years ago.  I will go in person to Social Security and ask again. I'm working, but only part-time and have always worked part-time.  My full benefit is lower than half his full benefit.  Thanks for your reply.  It will make a huge difference to us!
                                                • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                                  FrederickMichael
                                                  Note: the reductions for spouses who take their benefit before 66 are really severe. Hold out until 66! Also, for spouses, there is NO increase if you wait until after 66 (unlike the principal annuitant).
                                                   
                                                  The one bit I haven't been able to figure out is if you could collect on your own SS starting at 62 and switch to the spousal benefit at 66. The reverse is a common trick (collect spousal for a while, then switch to your own benefit later) but maybe it only works in that direction. The danger is a clause that reads, "deemed to have filed."
                                                   
                                                  It's kinda scary that you've been getting bad advice from SS. If you can't get right answers to easy questions from them, what do you do with hard questions?
                                        • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                          NotMartha
                                          What about a recently widowed cancer patient, age 54, who has insufficient quarters under her own name? Can she receive SS benefits as a disabed surviving spouse?
                                          • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                            AliceB
                                            I am so confused!!  OK, say my DH retired at 62, and he gets $1,600 a month.  Half of his is more than all mine.
                                             
                                            I see 3 options:
                                             
                                            A)  If he passes away, what would I be entitled to at 60 as a Surviving Spouse?
                                            B)  What would I be entitled to at 62?
                                            C)  What would I be entitled to at 66?
                                             
                                            Thanks.
                                             
                                              • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                                jimslu52
                                                At 62 you would get 35% of his SS if you took the spousal benefit.  At 66 you would get 50% of his SS in the spousal benefit.  You can collect either (if you are not in need of $ and healthy,  it always seems better to wait) and wait to claim your full SS benefit and it will continue to grow while you wait until 70 when your SS would not grow any more.  hope that helps.
                                              • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                                So, the money from an ex-spouse's ss is taxable?! Hasn't it already been taxed? i.e., it IS the tax paid through the years. I was told at the SS office that it wouldn't be taxed. Does anyone know? thanks.
                                                • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                                  Mjhmodd47
                                                  My Husband died at the age of 53y/o I did not touch his Social Security and I have continued working and am now 65 myself. Is it possible for me to begin collecting my husbands social security while I am still working.....or would it be advisable to wait until I completely retire? He definelty got in enough quarters of work to qualify for SS - since he started working as a teenager. I have not remarried either. Thanks, Mary
                                                    • Re: Collecting on spouse's ss
                                                      libraryGal
                                                      Mjhmodd47 said...
                                                      My Husband died at the age of 53y/o I did not touch his Social Security and I have continued working and am now 65 myself. Is it possible for me to begin collecting my husbands social security while I am still working.....or would it be advisable to wait until I completely retire? He definelty got in enough quarters of work to qualify for SS - since he started working as a teenager. I have not remarried either. Thanks, Mary
                                                      Some widows/widowers may do better taking their survivor benefits  starting at 60 and their retirement benefits at or after full  retirement.  Others may do better taking their retirement benefits  starting at 62 and taking their widow/widowers benefits starting at full  retirement age.  Since your husband died before full  retirement age, your surviving spouse’s survivor benefit will equal to his  full retirement benefit.
                                                       
                                                      Depending on what your own benefit is vs. what your survivor benefit is, you might want to start taking one of the benefits immediately.  It might make sense to begin collecting his now and delay yours until age 70 because of the increased credit you would receive.  
                                                       
                                                      If I were you, I'd make an appointment asap at the local SS office and discuss your options with them.  You may be able to apply for some back benefits if it makes sense, but there is a limit to how many months they will go back (on a survivor's benefit)