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I’m 65 and the high earner in my marriage. Can I claim my husband’s Social Security benefits before my own? 

‘My husband started collecting Social Security at Full Retirement Age. He is now 73.’ Dear MarketWatch, 

My husband started collecting Social Security at Full Retirement Age. He is now 73. I just turned 65. I am the higher-earning spouse. Can I file for spousal benefits at my Full Retirement Age in November 2025 and collect that until I turn 70 — and then switch to my own Social Security benefit? 

Have a question about your own retirement savings? Email us Reader, 

Social Security claiming strategies can be complicated, even more so when you have a spouse and your benefits aren’t equal. You want to maximize them, but you also have to weigh your current and future needs, your health, life expectancy, and so on. 

Because your spouse is already collecting his benefit, you are eligible for spousal benefits, but you will be considered dually entitled when you begin claiming because you’re able to receive your own benefit OR the spousal benefit. The Social Security Administration will give you whatever is the higher benefit. 

There are other options, however. For example, you could continue to delay claiming your own benefit and just stick with what he’s getting for now. This, of course, depends on whether you are financially able to do so, as it doesn’t make sense to delay benefits to get more in a few years if you’re struggling to pay the bills now.

You should consider your health and life expectancy when deciding at what age you claim — there’s no use in delaying your benefit if you won’t live long enough to enjoy it. If you do delay past your Full Retirement Age, however, your benefit rises about 8% each year you wait, up until age 70.

Bonus to delaying your own benefits

Another option: Start claiming your benefit at Full Retirement Age and have your husband switch to spousal benefits in the event that half of your primary insurance would be more than what he’s currently getting. The primary insurance amount, also known as PIA, is what you’re owed at FRA.