Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wife's Benefits on Own Account & Mine

Question from Tom fromTexas

Terrific SS Book!
I have some questions...
Background... I am 59. At 62 I am eligible for $1600/mo, at 66, $2000. My spouse is 61. At 62 she is eligible for $150/mo, at 66, $200.
Obviously it is to our advantage for her to draw the 1/2 of mine.
Here are the questions.
1. Can she draw my reduced half when she turns 62 ( I will be 60)? or does she have to wait on my half until I am eligible at 62?
2. If she draws half of mine and I don't draw anything until I am 66, does she then get a boost up to the full amount I am eligible for at 66?
Thanks Tom for the kind comment about my book ( ). No your wife cannot collect on your account until you become eligible for benefits. She can collect on her own account and then when you become eligible she can collect the excess Wife's benefit on top of her own. The wife's benefit is figured by taking 1/2 of your unreduced benefit (the primary insurance amount-in your case $2,000), subtracting her own primary insurance amount (in her case $200) , not her reduced benefit amount. So her unreduced Wife's benefit would be $800, and then if she is under Full Retirement Age at that time, the wife's benefit is reduced based on the wife's age reduction factor. The wife's reduction factor is greater than the the regular retirement age reduction factor. The reduced wife's benefit is then added to the reduced retirement benefit (her own account) for the total benefit amount. I hope this is helpful.