Can I get Social Security from my wife and myself at the same time?


Q. My wife is four years older than me and she started collecting her full retirement benefit from Social Security at 66. I am still working. I plan on waiting until 70 to start my benefits. How do I, or can I, collect both benefits?
— Planning ahead

A. You may be eligible for spousal benefits based on your wife’s record, but you can’t double dip.

You also can’t switch from one benefit to the other.

When you apply, Social Security will compare the two types of benefits and if your retirement benefit is higher, you will receive that amount, said Laura Mattia, a certified financial planner with Atlas Fiduciary Financial in Oakland.

“The top spousal benefit is 50% of your wife’s primary insurance amount and you can get that maximum if you claim benefits at your own full retirement age,” she said. The amount is reduced if you file earlier.”

But still, if your own benefit is higher, then that is what Social Security will pay, she said.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 31, 2021. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.