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US Government Information/should I earn 4 more credits?


My age: 59
Husband's age: 54
Older son's age: 19 (currently in college and quickly depleting our savings)
Younger son's age: 11

My husband has, by far, the better earnings record, and has reached the 40 credit threshold.  I am at 36, currently not employed.  I'm trying to decide whether to go back to work in order to get to the 40 credit mark.

I read that when a worker retires, the child and the spouse can each receive 50% of the worker's benefit.  On the other hand, if the worker retires earlier than the full retirement age (66 in my case), then the benefits are reduced FOREVER.

It's not clear to me whether my husband qualifies as being someone who cares for a child under 16, since he works full time.  Perhaps that doesn't matter?

Here's what I'm thinking: if I earn 4 more credits and then apply for retirement at age 62, then my husband and my son can both receive benefits.  If this is correct, then it would seem to me to be advantageous to earn the 4 remaining credits.

Would my family still receive benefits even if I file and suspend?  Is there any advantage in my case to suspending?

If I file at 62 and do not suspend, will the reduction in benefit also apply to my husband (as caretaker of our son) and to my son?

If I file at 62 and do not suspend, will that reduce the spousal benefit I receive later (based on my husband's earnings record)?

I hope you understand my questions.  Thank you very much.

Yes, if you become insured for benefits, at age 62 you can file for reduced retirement benefits.   A mother or father with a child under age 16 can receive benefits as a young spouse.  There is no age requirement for the parent with this type of benefit.  

If your husband is working, Social Security will withhold $1 for every $2 he earns over the annual exempt limit ($15,480 for 2014).  Because of this earnings test, he may not be able to receive benefits. His earnings only affect his benefit.   There is a family maximum benefit payable to a family from the same earnings record.  If your husband and child receive benefits, they will receive an amount less than the full 50% each due to this maximum.  

You cannot use voluntary suspension at age 62.  This option is not available until you are age 66.  If you are working, your earnings can prevent benefits from being paid to you or anyone else on the your record.

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Darlene Oldendick


Social Security retirement planning and all questions about Social Security eligibility and entitlement.


Worked for the Social Security Administration for 33 years


33 years employment with the Social Security Administration

Awards and Honors
Many outstanding performance awards while employed at the Social Security Administration

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