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Can I collect spousal benefits and wait until I am 70 to collect my own Social Security?

You can only collect spousal benefits and wait until 70 to claim your retirement benefit if both of the following are true:

  • You were born before Jan. 2, 1954.
  • Your spouse is collecting his or her own Social Security retirement benefit.

This makes you eligible to file a “restricted application,” which allows you to collect a spousal benefit while delaying benefits on your own earnings record. To do so, you should state in the remarks section of the application form that you wish to exclude your retirement benefit from the scope of your Social Security claim.

Under a law Congress passed in 2015, people born after Jan. 1, 1954, cannot file a restricted application, regardless of how old they are when they file for benefits. They are covered by what Social Security calls “deemed filing.” When they claim retirement benefits, they are also deemed to be claiming any spousal benefits they are entitled to, except under narrow circumstances.

Keep in mind

If you were born after Jan. 1, 1954, there are only two exceptions to the deemed-filing rule. It does not apply if you receive spousal benefits because you are caring for a child who is under 16 or disabled, or if you get spousal benefits and are also entitled to Social Security disability payments.

Updated May 6, 2021