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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

If I apply for my own Social Security benefit before my full retirement age, but switch to a spouse benefit based on my husband's work record when I reach full retirement age, will it be reduced because I claimed my own benefit early?

En español | If you were born between 1943 and 1954, then your full retirement age is 66. At 66, you could get your full retirement benefit or your full spouse benefit. But by claiming early, you will reduce both benefits. For example, if you file for retirement benefits at age 64, you would receive 86.7 percent of the benefit you'd get at full retirement age. At 64, you'd get a spouse benefit equal to 41.7 percent of what your husband would get (rather than the 50 percent you'd get if you waited until age 66). It is important to note that if you wait until full retirement age, you could choose to receive only the spouse benefit and allow your own retirement benefit to grow and earn delayed retirement benefits until age 70. If you decide you cannot wait until full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will automatically file for your retirement benefit and your own benefit at the same time, and will give you whichever benefit is larger. There is no additional work to do on your part to ensure the larger of the two benefits.

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