The Social Security Spouse Benefit - 4 Helpful Articles

  • 4 Key Rules for Claiming Social Security's Spousal Benefits: "Spousal benefits can't be claimed unless the "target" spouse -- the one whose earnings will be the basis for the benefit -- has already filed to claim his or her Social Security retirement benefit"
  • A guide for couples on understanding how the spousal benefit works.: "beware the "deeming" provision. Say John applies for his benefit first. Then Mary applies for her own benefit before her full retirement age, intending to delay taking the higher spousal benefit. Not possible, says the Social Security Administration. It automatically "deems" her as taking the highest benefit she's eligible for -- in this case, the spousal benefit. To get around the deeming provision, the lower earner should apply for her retirement benefit before the higher earner applies for his. The Social Security Administration will not automatically switch her to the spousal benefit once she is eligible; the wife will have to file an application for the spousal benefit, Blair says. Having the lower earner file early could make sense for couples who want to bring in some money while the higher earner delays. But couples who regret having the wife take her own benefit early could boost her benefit by waiting to collect her spousal portion."
  • How the The Social Security Spouse Benefit Works: "If you were born on or before January 1, 1954, after you reach FRA, you can choose to receive only the spousal benefit by filing a restricted application. By doing this you delay receiving your retirement benefits based on your earning's record until a later date. For example, at age 70 you could switch from receiving a spousal benefit to receiving your own potentially higher benefit amount."
  • What Is the Maximum Social Security Spousal Benefit?: "Thanks to a rule known as "deemed filing," if you were born on or after Jan. 2, 1954, then once you apply for one type of benefit, you're deemed to have applied for them all. If you were born before that date and you have reached your full retirement age, then you may choose to collect your spousal benefit, let your own retirement benefit continue to grow, and then claim your enhanced benefit later."
Image source: Kathee reaches FRA (Full Retirement Age) in April. So we plan on her filing for the Spousal Benefit then, to commence in May

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