Sequencing and timing of retirement and spousal benefits for social security

We take great care to ensure that our recommended filing strategy only includes benefit receipt dates that are allowable within Social Security’s rules. The two major rules that affect married couples are the spousal benefit eligibility rule and the deeming provision (Calculations #28). A spouse is not eligible for spousal benefits until his or her spouse, the worker off of whose record the spousal benefits will be based, files for his or her retirement benefit. 14 The deeming provision states that if you are eligible for both reduced retirement and reduced spouse’s benefits, then you cannot restrict your application to just one of these types of benefits. By filing for either benefit, you are deemed by law to have filed for both types of benefits. The deeming provision only applies at the time of initial application. Hence, if you apply for an early retirement benefit and want to wait to full retirement age to take your spousal benefit, you can do so if your spouse is not collecting a retirement benefit at the time you apply for your retirement benefit. If your spouse starts collecting his or her retirement benefit before you reach full retirement age, you will not be deemed to be applying for a spousal benefit.

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