senior couple out for a walk gettyimages .jpg

Married? Here’s One Good Reason to Delay Your Social Security Claim

You’ll often hear that being married is advantageous from a retirement perspective. If you’re married, you might have two nest eggs you can combine for a boosted retirement income. You’ll also have someone to spend your newfound free time with, as well as someone who can potentially serve as a caregiver should you end up needing it.

But being married can actually be a bit tricky from a Social Security standpoint. And it might make your filing decision a lot more difficult.

Filing early may not serve your spouse well

When it comes to claiming Social Security, you have choices. You’re allowed to sign up for benefits at any point in time once you turn 62. However, you’re not entitled to your full monthly benefit — the one that’s calculated based on your individual earnings history — until full retirement age (FRA) arrives. That age is 66, 67, or somewhere in the middle, depending on your year of birth.

Two people walking along the water.

Image source: Getty Images.

You’re also allowed to delay your Social Security claim beyond FRA. For each year you do, up until your 70th birthday, your monthly benefit gets an 8% boost.

You may not care about that boost all that much if you have decent savings or intend to live frugally. And if you’re someone who’s burned out at work, you may be tempted to file for Social Security early or at FRA so you can get the heck out of that job as quickly as possible.

But while you might be OK with claiming Social Security at or before FRA, that decision may not sit as well with your spouse. In fact, if you don’t delay your filing, you could end up shorting your spouse on quite a bit of income.

Your spouse may be looking to claim spousal benefits from Social Security on your earnings record. Social Security will pay your spouse up to 50% of the monthly benefit you’re entitled to. But the higher that benefit is, the more money your spouse stands to receive.

Furthermore, once you pass away, your spouse is entitled to survivors benefits that equal 100% of the monthly benefit you collected. If you delay your Social Security claim and boost your monthly benefit, you’ll leave your surviving life partner with a higher income for the rest of their life.

A tough decision to make

You may be inclined to delay your Social Security filing for your own reasons, such as being worried about running out of savings. Or, you might simply have a lot of goals for retirement that will take money to achieve, like traveling to every continent or living abroad for a period of time.

But if you’re not inclined to delay your Social Security claim for your own benefit, you may want to consider doing so for the sake of your spouse. Not only might it set them up with more income (both while you’re alive and in the event of your passing), but it might also help you avoid conflict at a time when money-related worries may be high.

Either way, though, talk things through with your spouse before making the decision to hold off on Social Security. It’s important that your spouse understand the impact of a delayed filing — on them and on you. Discussing different strategies together is ultimately your best bet if your goal is to land on a filing age that best suits both of you.

The $22,924 Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook

If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $22,924 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.

View the “Social Security secrets”

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts