Social Security Strategy: Wife Claims Early, Husband Claims Late

December 6th, 2008  |  Published in Social Security  |  2 Comments

One way a couple can maximize their Social Security benefit is to use a strategy that takes advantage of how the benefit is calculated differently for men and women. To maximize your benefit, it pays for anyone to simply wait until their almost 70 before taking payments. If you’re not actually retired, this is pretty easy to do. If you are retired and depend on Social Security for income, that’s a difficult thing to expect – wait until 70? So, the strategy is for couples to have the wife take benefits at 62 and for the husband to wait until 70.

Here’s a example of a potential scenario. The wife files for benefits at a reduced rate when she turns 63. The husband, a little older, files for just the spousal benefit, which is based on his wife’s earnings. When the husband turns 70, he can begin claiming benefits based on salary with a “delayed retirement credit,” which is what he gets for waiting until 70. This, of course, ends the spousal benefit he gets because of his wife but that’s OK.

Slick huh?