Q&A: Social Security spousal benefits count as yours

Dear Liz: My husband is 69 and taking his Social Security benefit. I will be 62 in November and would like to ask if I can take half of his amount when I turn 62 and let mine grow until my full retirement age of 66 and 8 months? Or am I only able to collect mine at 62?

Answer: You can’t take a spousal benefit and let your own retirement benefit grow. When you apply for Social Security, you will be “deemed” to be applying for both benefits and you’ll get the larger of the two. You won’t be able to switch later. Applying at 62 means accepting a permanently reduced benefit. Some people don’t have much choice, but if you can continue working or tap other retirement funds, waiting is usually the better option.

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Comments

  1. Mikael Hansen says

    It may be added that if the husband hadn’t taken his social security, he would have been eligible for spousal benefit once his wife takes her own social security. By way of a so-called restricted application and only until he turns 70 years.