Dear Rusty: I have a question about the family maximum SS retirement benefit. As I understand it, if the breadwinner is drawing retirement benefits or is deceased, the family maximum is calculated from a formula that yields a figure between 150 percent and 188 percent of the breadwinner’s primary insurance amount — his or her monthly benefit if claimed at full retirement age. That age is 66 and 4 months for people born in 1956 and will gradually increase to 67 over the next few years.
Is this calculation only applicable at full retirement age (in my case 66 and 4 months) or is it still applicable if I delay taking SS until 68 or 70? My assumption is the “breadwinner” is the spouse with the higher income.
Signed: Planning my Retirement
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