Timing one spouse's benefit when the other already claimed

Katie Godbout, Director of Sales & Marketing
September 28, 2016

A subscriber called our support team and asked this claiming question for his client.

I have a client, Jim, who is 62 years old. His wife, Kim, is five years older and already collecting, having elected at age 62. Can he file now and have his wife apply for the spousal benefit? Her benefit is $425 a month, and his benefit at age 62 would be $1,706 and at 66 would be $2,265.

We answered:

6872EF85-AABD-D71A-50555DA8182533A1 (1).gifHe can, but he will permanently reduce his benefit amount because he elected prior to Full Retirement Age (FRA). This is an approximate 25% reduction for electing at age 62.

This will also reduce the widow amount she could receive if he happens to pass away before she does. If either of them has a longer life expectancy, this reduction could have a larger impact on their total benefit amount.

Another thing to be cautious of: is he continuing to work? If no, or if he is currently earning less than $15,720, he can file with no issue of the Earnings Test. If he is working and earning more than $15,720 he will be subject to the Earnings Test. Social Security will withhold $1 for every $2 he earns over that amount. Read more about the Earnings Test.

If you subscribe to Social Security Timing and run into questions you’re unable to answer, contact your support team by calling 1.877.844.7213. 

Not a subscriber, but have questions? Contact our sales team at 1.877.844.7213 to learn how we can help with your clients’ questions and cases.

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Posted by Katie Godbout, Director of Sales & Marketing
Katie thrives on making an impact and achieving big goals. She believes that communication strategy has a major impact on business success. As a strategic communicator with a diverse background in non-profit, B2B, healthcare, and SaaS, Katie combines her expertise in strategy development, marketing and sales to spread the word about how Covisum can help advisors and institutions inform their clients of the best financial decisions.