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Ask Bob: Can I Collect on My Social Security then Claim My Spousal Benefit Later?

A reader wants to know if she could start her own Social Security and then switch to spousal benefits later when her husband retires.

Question

My husband doesn’t plan on retiring for a few more years. I'm over 62 and might want to start collecting mine now, which would be lower than me receiving half of his when he retires. If I started collecting my own Social Security now, could I then switch to collecting half of his benefit when he retires?

Answer

Yes, she can file for her retirement benefit and then switch to her spouse’s benefit when her husband files for his retirement benefit, says Mike O’Connor of Economic Security Planning. If she files before her full retirement age, then her benefit will be reduced. 

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Question

My husband doesn’t plan on retiring for a few more years. I'm over 62 and might want to start collecting mine now, which would be lower than me receiving half of his when he retires. If I started collecting my own Social Security now, could I then switch to collecting half of his benefit when he retires?

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