I learn something new almost every day.
Today (well, not today but recently), I learned something about the online application for Social Security that I didn’t know: the restricted application for Spousal Benefits is available as a choice when you apply using the online application system! (If you want more information on why a restricted application is important, see this article about Leaving Money on the Table.)
For quite a while now I’ve been telling folks that the best way to apply for the restricted application is to go to your local office. When you get there and explain that you want to submit a restricted application for Spousal Benefits only, the first person that you talk to will likely tell you that you can’t do this, because your own retirement benefit is greater than half of your spouse’s PIA, or something like that. Then my advice has been to ask for a supervisor and explain it again, and keep insisting that you’re eligible to do this (make sure that you are, first of course!), until you get the right person to agree with you.
As it turns out, for some time now you’ve been able to select this option via that online application. See below – this is a screenshot of the application system (sorry it’s not very legible). The last part in bold says:
If you are eligible for both retirement benefits and spouse’s benefits, do you want to delay receipt of retirement benefits?
It’s clear that this option gives you the ability to delay the receipt of your retirement benefit and only receive the spouse’s benefit, assuming that you’re at least at Full Retirement Age and your spouse has applied for his or her benefit.
This is great news – since now you won’t have to go through the hassle described above in order to submit a restricted application for spousal benefits.
An additional, likely unintended positive to this development is that you could use this blog to show the first person you talk to (if you still opt to visit the local office) in order to help prove your eligibility for this option.