Can my wife switch to spousal benefits at her FRA?

Published: May 17, 2024

Full question: My wife will be able to start her minimal Social Security benefits January 2025. If she does so can she switch to spousal benefits when she reaches full retirement age? And will those spousal benefits remain 50 percent of my FRA benefits or be reduced because of her earlier start?

Hi there,

This is a common question, but you have a sense of the correct answer.

If you have not started collecting yet and she files at age 62, she will receive her own decreased retirement benefit. If you have already started collecting, she will receive her own retirement benefit amount plus a “top off” spousal benefit amount.

She cannot choose one benefit or the other; she will not really switch between benefits. The spousal benefit percentage is reduced if that benefit begins earlier than FRA, very similarly to how retirement benefits are reduced.

For personalized assistance, schedule a call with an RSSA here.

Take care,

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