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Retirement Planning/SS Retirement Benefit adjustments


My wife and I are both 61.  To facilitate the answer to my question, assume at age 66 her full benefit is $1,000 and mine is $2400 (very close to actual estimates.)  When she turns 62 she can elect to receive an early (25% reduced) $750 benefit for herself.  I plan on working until 70.  If at age 66, I file and immediately suspend my benefit payments, can my wife at that time change her benefit to begin receiving $1200, 1/2 of my full benefit?  And then when I turn 70, and begin receiving my monthly $3,168, can my wife also again change her benefit to $1584, half of my full payment at age 70?

The Financial Quarterback
The Financial Quarterb  
Thanks for your question. Planning well for social security can make a huge difference in your retirement years. I would take some time to review this situation with a Certified Financial Planner in your area and see how you can leverage your benefits with your own individual assets.

What you are describing is what is called a "File & Suspend" claiming strategy. If at 62 (or so) she can begin taking the lower benefit, which seems to be her own benefit, then when you turn 66 (your FRA) you can file and then immediately suspend your benefits and she will begin to collect her spousal benefit. Her spousal benefit will continue to grow yearly at the rate of inflation.

You can also use another claiming strategy that will allow you to collect your spousal benefit and allow your individual benefit to continue growing to age 70. This is called the "Restricted" claiming strategy.

Again please make sure to review this with a Certified Financial Planner who understand social security claiming strategies. This can make a huge difference in your cash flow at retirement.  

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Richard E. Reyes, CFP


I can provide answers to questions relating to retirement especially relating to; income distribution, tax efficiency, long-term care insurance, life insurance, estate planning, asset protection, variable and fixed annuities, alternative investments and prudent portfolio design.


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