Can my spouse collect their own retirement benefit at FRA and later switch to a higher spousal benefit once I begin collecting?Published: February 21, 2022
Full question: Is there any penalty if my spouse begins collecting their Social Security Benefit at FRA, while I wait to turn 70 and then apply for the spousal benefit (presuming 50% is larger than theirs)?
Yes, a retiree can collect their own retirement benefit at any time age 62 or later.
Once the second spouse begins collecting their retirement benefit, the spouse who was already collecting may be eligible for a spousal benefit if it is higher than what they are currently collecting.
The important thing to remember is that spousal benefits do not increase after full retirement age. Also, couples should plan together so the higher earner’s benefit is maximized, and the claiming decisions are optimal for both individuals. An RSSA can help you make these decisions.