Ask Terry Questions Spousal SS benefits —

Spousal SS benefits —

By Terry Savage on January 06, 2024 | Financial Planning / Retirement

My husband applied for SS when he turned 70 and I though once he applied I could apply for Spousal Support even though I want to wait to apply for my SS until I turn 70 in two years. A SS administrator in the Chicago office told me that I was born too late to collect this benefit. Is this true?

Also, on another note, I did purchase the SS calculator you recommended so I could calculate approximately how much SS I would receive because I am also collecting a TRS pension. I am eligible for SS due to previous employment before entering TRS. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the software to calculate this amount.

Thanks so much for everything that you are doing and all the information you are making available to the public. My husband and I listen to you on WGN TV and radio and stop what we are doing to give you our full focus.

Terry Says

OK, you’re entitled to spousal benefits since you’re still married. You are entitled to half your spouse’s benefit at HIS full retirement age. (You do not get a benefit increase because he waited those extra years.)
I have no idea what idiot at SS told you that you were “born too late” — but there are plenty of dummies working for the agency.

BUT — a lot depends on whether half of his benefit is larger than the benefit to which you would be entitled on your own record! Since you are collecting a TRS (public employee) benefit, you are subject to the WEP — windfall elimination provision. That would reduce your benefit.

And that comes into the comparison of your own benefits vs your spousal benefit. The calculator at is designed exactly to give you those numbers. If you didn’t understand how to work it, please write back to the email you receive saying your question has been answered. Give me your full name and contact information, and I’ll get them to help you through the process.

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