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Old 01-30-2016, 05:37 PM
 
Location: WA
5,396 posts, read 21,404,537 times
Reputation: 5903

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I am currently eligible but not drawing SS... I am 67 in April. My benefit is double that of my spouse.

My spouse is not yet drawing SS and is 66 (FRA) in April.

I was thinking that I should wait for her to file in April,

-apply for spousal benefits getting 50% of her benefit,

- file and suspend my own (I'll have to hussle to beat the 5/1 cutoff)

- In three years (age 70) stop taking the spousal and apply for my own benefit

- and she will stop taking her own and apply for spousal against by increased benefit.

So my questions are:

1. does this look like a legitimate strategy?

2. can all of this be done online or do I need to visit an office?

3. I there something else I should consider?
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Old 01-30-2016, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Whereever we have our RV parked
8,797 posts, read 7,712,915 times
Reputation: 15087
I'd base it completely on whether you need the money or not. We were going to wait on my wife, but she's sick and needs medical treatment, which costs money. We were trying to just get by for awhile on my salary, as I'm still working. But we could use the money, so we filed. I wouldn't worry it to death. There's no way to predict the future, either next year or tomorrow let alone how long you'll live etc.
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Old 01-30-2016, 06:38 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,451,125 times
Reputation: 12309
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Old 01-30-2016, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Saint Johns, FL
1,193 posts, read 943,629 times
Reputation: 1267
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdelena View Post
I am currently eligible but not drawing SS... I am 67 in April. My benefit is double that of my spouse.

My spouse is not yet drawing SS and is 66 (FRA) in April.

I was thinking that I should wait for her to file in April,

-apply for spousal benefits getting 50% of her benefit,

- file and suspend my own (I'll have to hussle to beat the 5/1 cutoff)

- In three years (age 70) stop taking the spousal and apply for my own benefit

- and she will stop taking her own and apply for spousal against by increased benefit.

So my questions are:

1. does this look like a legitimate strategy?

2. can all of this be done online or do I need to visit an office?

3. I there something else I should consider?
If you apply for spousal benefit, called a Restricted Application, you don't file and suspend. You do one or the other, and Restricted Application is what you want. And there is no time limit on that. In fact you want to ensure a couple months elapse between her filing and your filing.

Ensure she files for her benefit only. (About 98% sure of that)...

When you turn 70, apply for your benefit and she applies for spousal.

All in all, your plan looks good to maximize your benefits and her survivor benefits.
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Old 01-31-2016, 02:17 AM
 
71,667 posts, read 71,801,099 times
Reputation: 49256
our plan is very similar except my wife is 65 and i am 63 and she is already collecting an early benefit since 62 .

however she will suspend her early benefit at fra in august leaving it to grow until 70 .

when she is 70 she will lift the suspension . i will be 67-10 months when she reaches 70 and i will file restricted application for 1/2 her benefit .

at 70 i will switch to my own and at that time she will get a spousal adder of 4200 to her benefit when i file.

we ran all the different scenario's through fidelity's new social security optimizer ( in house tool only , not one you can access ) and this was the best outcome for us .
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:38 AM
 
Location: WA
5,396 posts, read 21,404,537 times
Reputation: 5903
Just a quick update...

Wife applied online and we received a call from the individual processing the application. As part of the conversation it was mentioned I would be applying for spousal benefits so he offered to handle that application on the call.

Very knowledgeable and professional help that clearly had all the data for us readily available, knew the strategies, and was up to date on Medicare rates and procedures as well.

Bottom line we made both applications without issue and got confirmation of our plan going forward. SS provided better customer service that most organizations we deal with.
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,366 posts, read 3,706,500 times
Reputation: 4111
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdelena View Post
Just a quick update...

Wife applied online and we received a call from the individual processing the application. As part of the conversation it was mentioned I would be applying for spousal benefits so he offered to handle that application on the call.

Very knowledgeable and professional help that clearly had all the data for us readily available, knew the strategies, and was up to date on Medicare rates and procedures as well.

Bottom line we made both applications without issue and got confirmation of our plan going forward. SS provided better customer service that most organizations we deal with.
I just read your post. However I do not think you have the correct answer.

My assumption is that 50% of your benefit is larger than your wife's benefit. If this is not correct you are doing the correct thing. If her benefit is larger than your 50% then you should collect on her account and let your benefit grow. Nothing wrong with what you are doing.

I would have went to the SS office as my experience has shown that the employees are very nice but mistakes happen all the time. Stay on top of this. If you start to have problems go to the office and meet with someone. Making an appointment is hard at some offices so I would walk in first thing in the morning planning on staying all day if necessary. Since time is short I would not wait for an appointment.
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Old 02-07-2016, 02:14 PM
 
71,667 posts, read 71,801,099 times
Reputation: 49256
Whoever has the bigger benefit should let their bigger benefit grow
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Old 02-07-2016, 02:39 PM
 
Location: WA
5,396 posts, read 21,404,537 times
Reputation: 5903
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjm1cc View Post
I just read your post. However I do not think you have the correct answer.

My assumption is that 50% of your benefit is larger than your wife's benefit. If this is not correct you are doing the correct thing. If her benefit is larger than your 50% then you should collect on her account and let your benefit grow. Nothing wrong with what you are doing.
...
Her benefit is $31 a month higher than half of mine so we are OK with the way it went.
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