Alert
Close

Introducing AARP RealPad: The Wi-Fi Tablet That Makes It Easy to Share, Learn, Connect and Play. Learn more

Highlights

Open

10,000 Games Galore Sweepstakes from AARP
AARP Auto Buying Program
Think You Know AARP Caribbean Cruise Sweepstakes

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

Most Popular
ARTICLES

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Work
PROGRAMS

Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Social Security Mailbox

How to Maximize Your Benefits

'Claim and suspend' lets your payment grow until you're 70

Q. I am older than my husband but we will both reach full retirement age (66) within several months of each other. What can we do to maximize our Social Security benefits?

A. Here's a strategy that might work for you.

See also: Keep Social Security strong. >>

When you reach 66, file for Social Security and immediately suspend those benefits. If you do this, your future benefits increase about 8 percent a year. For example, waiting four years until 70 (when the annual increases top out) would mean that a $1,000-a-month benefit would rise to $1,320.

Meanwhile, when your husband reaches his full retirement age, he can apply for a spousal benefit based on your work record, because you've filed. Typically he'll get about 50 percent of what your basic payment would have been.

When he reaches 70, he can file for retirement benefits on his own record. Like yours, they will have grown by 32 percent over what they would have been had he claimed them at 66.

Typically, the person who reaches the full retirement age files first. But if your husband's benefits are greater than yours, he should consider being the first to file in order for you to get the larger spousal benefit.

Also of interest: Calculate when to claim benefits. >>

Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Woman sitting on sofa using laptop
membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

Mujer en la parte de afuera de so negocio

Free quotes for members from the AARP® Small Business Insurance Program.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Official Sweepstakes Rules

Explore Your Learning Possiblities