If you’re born before Jan. 1, 1954, you can file what’s known as a “restricted application,” something that’s not available anymore for younger taxpayers.
Under the restricted application, when you apply for benefits, Social Security will allow you to file for spousal benefits only. But if you were born after Jan. 1, 1954, even if you are full retirement age or older, you are deemed to have filed for all possible benefits when you apply for Social Security.
So if your own benefit is higher, you can’t choose the spousal benefit so your own benefit can grow.
But if you are old enough to be eligible to file a restricted application, at full retirement age, each ex-spouse can file for spousal benefits on the other ex-spouse’s record, Green said.
“Both ex-spouses can then accrue delayed retirement credits on their own benefits,” he said. “In Jane’s example, she can claim spousal benefits on her ex-spouse’s record at 62, while letting her own benefits grow until age 70—when Jane can switch to her boosted benefit on her own record.”