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Taking Railroad Retirement Spouse Annuity Early (and Delaying Filing for Own Social Security)
(Posted March 12, 2013)
Question 987: This is a follow-up to Q&A 980, regarding spousal dual benefits. I was a 30/60 career railroader. I'm now 63. My wife turns 60 this June. If she applies for the spousal RRB annuity (50% of my Tier 1, plus 45% of my Tier 2) beginning in July, could she then wait until age 70 to apply for her Social Security Tier 1, and receive that benefit if, in fact, it is greater than what will be her RRB Tier 1? (She has worked her entire adult life outside the rail industry.)
Answer: I recommend that your wife file for her Spouse Annuity at 60. Her annuity will not be reduced for age so there is no advantage waiting until 66 or 67.
On the other hand, waiting to file for her own Social Security benefit has financial advantages. If she waits until her full retirement age, she avoids taking an age reduction. If she waits even longer until she's 70, Social Security will pay her a bonus.
Of course, no one has a crystal ball to see how long they will live and receive benefits!
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