My wife is 5 years older than I, and while she has only worked sparingly in the last 13 years, she worked full time from about 1980 to 2002. I am not sure if she will ever work again as our youngest kid is 9. Anyway in 13 years I will be 62 and plan on retiring with my 55% of salary pension. I know full well that waiting to 70 provides the maximum Social Security benefit, but I thought I heard a spouse may be able to claim earlier without the other spouse being impacted. I would like to wait until 70 if I can. Anyway given my situation, what is the best way to maximize SS benefits?

  • See my updated answer. Looks like the budget deal just signed into law contained some language to change your options here. I expect the websites that I linked to will be updated accordingly. Nov 3, 2015 at 16:29

1 Answer 1


Assuming nothing changes between now and then, you will want to file and suspend your benefits at your earliest opportunity. Your wife can then file for spousal benefits, and your benefits will continue to accrue until you file again at 70.

There are several reviews of Social Security benefits calculators that discuss the common strategies for maximizing your benefit, you may wish to visit some of them and enter your numbers at 2 WSJ articles How to Maximize Social Security Benefits and Free Online Tools for Optimizing Social Security Benefits.


It looks like congress moved quite suddenly to close the file and suspend option just now, so unless you are already turning 62 in 2015, this option may not be available.

  • Assuming your wife's benefits will be much smaller than her spousal benefits, she should also file for her own benefits as early as possible since they will be superseded by her spousal benefits when she files for those, but the calculators in the linked articles will suggest that. Oct 18, 2015 at 2:19
  • Very good, since the laws may change a bit in the next 7 -13 years, I wait until I get closer to that time to look at this.
    – works
    Oct 19, 2015 at 21:01
  • Is that done deal, or just a proposal? This can cost retirees tens of thousands of dollars. (About $60K, in my case. Ouch) Surprised they'd just slip this in. Nov 3, 2015 at 17:18
  • Signed yesterday. :( Nov 3, 2015 at 17:24
  • Both of the WSJ articles are now behind a pay wall. Jan 26, 2018 at 1:50

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