spousal benefit rules
February 25, 2019 | by Chris Stein, CFP®, Finance Instructor at Colorado State University
Suspending Spousal Benefits

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We had the following simple, yet interesting new question come in recently:

“I often read on your blog about suspending your own retirement benefits in order to receive delayed retirement credits, but can you also suspend your spousal benefits?”

You Can Suspend Spousal, But…

The reason we never talk about suspending spousal benefits is that there is no benefit to doing so.  Let me explain…

When people suspend their own retirement benefit, which can only be done after reaching Full Retirement Age (FRA), they will benefit from their benefit growing by Delayed Retirement Credits (DRC).  These credits accrue when you either refrain from claiming your benefits at FRA, or if you suspend your benefits.  The benefit increase is the equivalent of 8% for each year you delay, up to reaching age 70 when these credits cease.

Spousal Benefits Do Not Accrue DRC

Spousal benefits can actually be suspended, but they will NOT accrue Delayed Retirement Credits.  For this reason, we never recommend people do this.  The only reason to do this with your own benefit is to receive a future increase in benefits, but since that is not the case with spousal benefits, suspending is not advised.

Despite this being very straightforward, we have never discussed on the blog before, so thanks for a new question!

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