Claim rusty benefits while alive and as a widow

Dear Rusty: I will be 70 in January and my wife will be 65 in February, and then we will both go on Medicare. I am currently employed and my estimated Social Security benefit will be approximately $2,900. My wife was a stay at home mom and therefore only has minimal Social Security benefits. At age 65 she is eligible for $870 and at full retirement age she is eligible for $990. A few questions: If she gets benefits at age 65, what is her total partner benefit? If she waited until her full retirement age, what would the amount be? What would be even more concerning, what would her survivor benefit be, given the same criteria listed above. Signed: planning ahead

Best Planning Ahead: Based on the Social Security amounts in your email, your wife will be eligible for maternity benefits while you’re both alive. Her husband’s benefit when she claims will consist of her own Social Security retirement benefit plus a partner’s allowance to bring her payment up to her entitlement to alimony. Spouse benefits are calculated based on the full retirement age (FRA) benefit amounts, so if your 70-year benefit is “about $2900”, your FRA (age 66) benefit amount (known as your “primary insurance amount”) are approximately $2,225. Your wife’s base salary increase would be the difference between her FRA amount and 50% of your FRA amount, so her total benefit, if taken at her full retirement age, would be about $1,112 (her $990 plus a $990 marriage reinforcement). 122). But at age 65, both her own benefit and her partner’s allowance would be reduced. At age 65, your wife’s total benefit would be about $963 (her own $870 plus a reduced spouse allowance of about $93).

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