Domestic Diversions

The interplay between retirement benefits, spouse’s option to elect earnings records, and survivor benefits

US News & World Report helps potential retirees figure out their Social Security benefits with Emily Brandon’s article “Marriage and Social Security Benefits.” The article provides a good overview of the interplay between retirement benefits, spouse’s option to elect earnings records, survivor benefits, and different scenarios that demonstrate the best strategy to maximize benefits.

Some of Brandon’s key points are:

Survivor’s benefit

Delaying a claim for retirement benefits may increase the survivor’s benefit.

Single men, single women

Based on traditional life expectancies, men should claim early and women later.

Traditional married couple

If the husband is the bigger income producer, wives should claim early and husbands later (e.g., age 69 if possible).

Factors

To find the best strategy for you and your spouse, you need to evaluate the lower earner’s benefit and the age difference between the two of you.


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2 thoughts on “The interplay between retirement benefits, spouse’s option to elect earnings records, and survivor benefits

  1. philip

    As a male spouse can i elect to take early retirement spousal benefits at 62. And then wait to my full retiremaent age of 66 to claim benefits under my own work record without a penalty?

  2. maria

    My husband plans to retire in august of 2009 I receive disability does he qualify to receive benefits for me as a dependent?

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