Best Social Security Claiming Strategy For Married Couples

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Deciding when  you will begin to receive your Social Security benefits is a big decision which can determine your retirement benefits for your lifetime.  It is very important that a married couple coordinate their Social Security benefit plans.

You can begin collecting Social Security earlier than full retirement age which is 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954.  The age for full retirement increases by 2 months per year thereafter so someone born in 1967 or later will need to reach 67 for full retirement age.

One of the easiest ways to receive the most Social Security benefit amount is to delay receiving benefits until age 70.  If  you can afford to do this you will find a big difference in the amount of your benefit.  It may be as much as 32% higher than if you file when you are eligible earlier.

When someone is determining how and when to file for Social Security benefits the Social Security website has a benefit calculator to help  you estimate benefits at different ages.  This calculator does not, however, integrate one spouse’s benefit with the other spouse’s benefit._-

If you are retiring and plan to collect benefits before full retirement age and if both spouses were employed during their lifetime and have accumulated the necessary quarters to receive Social Security benefit’s the spouse with the lower earnings needs to decide whether it is more advantageous to take his or her own Social Security benefit or take the spousal benefit under the higher earnings of the spouse.  Once the decision has been made you cannot change and claim the other benefit,.  The only way to change the benefit is when the spouse with the higher benefit dies then the surviving spouse can receive the same benefit as the deceased spouse was receiving.

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A widow or widower may take their own Security Benefit if they take early retirement benefits and then they are allowed to change to the higher benefit of the deceased spouse at full retirement age.  Conversely, a widow or widower or surviving divorced spouse can claim benefits under their deceased spouse’s earnings and then change to their own higher benefits when they reach full retirement age.  Widows and widowers are allowed to collect early Social Security benefits beginning at age 60.

If a widow or widower or surviving divorced spouse has been receiving benefits under her late husband’s Social Security benefits and then remarries she or he has the choice to change to a current spousal benefit biased on the earnings of the present husband if that will be more advantageous.

Another strategy applies if you have reached full retirement age and are not ready to stop working and are not ready to collect  your Social Security benefit, but your spouse wants to start receiving spousal benefits.  In this case you can file for benefits, but suspend the payment until a later date.  Your spouse is able to file for and receive the spousal benefit.

Deciding when and how to determine a Social Security benefit strategy that will best suit your situation can be very complicated.  You will need to do some research and investigation to determine how to best benefit you and your spouse when it comes to your Social Security benefits.