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How should my husband and I collect Social Security when he made less income than I and is one year older?

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  Answers  |  2

September 26, 2014

Hi - you should each update your benefit estimates from the Social Security Administration by visiting their website at - then you will be prepared with the latest information. Generally, you want to wait until at least your Full Retirement Age (FRA) before you file for benefits. If you can wait to age 70, even better as your benefits increase by about 8% for each year of delay. It is particularly important for married couples to coordinate their benefits as the surviving spouse will receive the greater of the two benefits, but not both. You want that survivor benefit to be as large as possible. If you have the time you should both meet with a Social Security Administration employee and go through your options. Good luck!

$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 09.20.20 @ 04:47


March 15, 2016

Good question! First you will want to look at both of your benefit statements from Social Security to see what kind of benefits you would both get individually. Not knowing your ages or current financial need (or if this is a question to help plan ahead), it is hard to say whether he would benefit more from filing for his own benefit or as a spousal benefit under you if you will, in fact, have the higher benefit. That being said, Social Security is the best inflation-adjusted lifetime annuity out there, so the higher of the two benefit is what you want to hold off on receiving as long as financially possible because you received an 8% increase on each year of deferral (up to age 70), and this benefit will also what is paid out the longest of all (because this will also be the survivor benefit to your husband if he outlives you, or your benefit if you outlive him).
One option to consider is: Having your husband start receiving benefits under HIS earnings and then switching over to the spousal benefit (only if it's higher) once you file and start receiving benefits on your earnings.
Keep in mind: While the employees at the SSA can help you crunch the numbers, they are NOT able to advise you in which decision is best for you. My advise would be to find a financial advisor in your area is knowledgeable with Retirement Income Planning and Social Security. Good luck.

$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 09.20.20 @ 04:47