Husband (higher earner) - turns 70 [month, date] 2021. I have not filed for social security or Medicare Part A. I am still employed.
Wife - 18 months younger, so she will be 68 when I file. Wife filed on own earnings at age 66 and has been receiving around $500/month. Her spousal benefit will push her total up to around $1500/month. (I realize that technically she will be applying for a partial, or excess, spousal benefit to be paid in addition to her own benefit).
We have birth and marriage certificates, if needed. (originals)
I want the full benefit that I’ve waited for by delaying until age 70. I will be careful to inform SSA that I wish to receive my maximum benefit, including all delayed retirement credits to age 70, and that I do not wish to receive any retroactive payments based on a retirement age earlier than 70.
I want my wife’s spousal benefit to “sync up” with my filing. In other words, if I start receiving social security in June (for May), she should start receiving her spousal benefit at the same time.
First, since I was born [personally identifiable information removed by admin LadyGeek] 1951 is May the month I should start benefits in order to max out delayed retirement benefits? Or, should I start benefits in June to accomplish this?
I’ve had a hard time finding the answer to this, but the question seems to be answered here: https://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/20 ... ts/164494/
The author quotes SSA as follows:
Is this accurate?“If you want to maximize your monthly payment—which means you want to collect the largest possible number of delayed retirement credits—then you want to specify in the application that benefits should begin in the month that you turn 70. For example, let’s say that you turn 70 on Aug. 15. You may request that your benefit begin in August with the first payment in September. By requesting that your benefit begin in your birthday month, you will receive the maximum possible monthly payment for the rest of your life.”
Second, I have an SSA office nearby, and I’ve been there several times for reasons not relevant here. I’ve had good experiences with service there. However, they are closed at present. Should I apply online or by phone? Which is preferable?
Third, what should my wife do to trigger her spousal benefit? Will this occur automatically? I assume not, since I’m not sure how social security would know that we are married, unless the IRS were to tell them. Will we need to mail our marriage certificate to SSA as proof of marriage? How does that affect our timing strategies? Should she file for her spousal benefit online or by telephone? When should she do this? - I assume sometime after I file, but how long after?
Fourth, when should I apply? I am in no particular hurry for payments to start. If we both applied in April and it took several months for payments to start that would be fine, so long as we are both paid retroactively for any months after May 2021.
What else should I know or am I missing? Is there a book that you recommend I read to delve into these details? Do I need to read Mike Piper or Kotlikoff’s book, or Social Security for Dummies?
Thanks in advance!