Early retirement and spousal Social Security


Q. My husband is 66 years old and retired last year with full Social Security benefits.  My daughter is receiving Social Security benefits until she graduates from high school at age 18. I was told that had my salary not exceeded the maximum amount allowed, I would also receive some benefits until my daughter turns 18.

I am 54 years old, a federal worker under FERS with 23 years of service. My office is going through a major reorganization. I understand that if I am offered an early retirement, I will have immediate annuities without the 5 percent reduction each year under 62), will have Federal Employees Health Benefits and have the special retirement supplement when I am at my minimum retirement age.

1. I assume that since I won’t have a job, I will be able to receive Social Security benefits until my daughter turns 18 and graduates from high school in June 2016. I will be at my MRA in January 2015. At my MRA, will I be able to continue receiving my Social Security benefits and the special retirement supplement simultaneously?

2. When I turn 62 and the special retirement supplement stops, should I apply for Social Security benefits from my husband’s retirement until I am at my full retirement age (66 and 10 months)? This way, I would have my own full Social Security retirement benefits without reduction. Am I correct?

A. 1. You wouldn’t be able to receive a spousal Social Security benefit until you reach age 62. Read Benefits For You As A Spouse at www.ssa.gov/retire2/applying6.htm. Therefore, your question about receiving both the SRS and a Social Security benefit is moot. Note: The “child-in-care” benefit ends at age 16.

2. At age 62, when your special retirement supplement (SRS) ends, you could apply for a Social Security spousal benefit based on your husband’s work record and, when you reach full Social Security age, switch to your own benefit.


About Author

Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com.

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