Only one Social Security benefit can be collected at a time

Phil: I was wondering if it is possible to collect a six-month lump sum Social Security benefit at age 70 and six months plus, during this time frame, continue to collect a spousal benefit from age 70 to age 70 and one half?

Phil Moeller: Yes, you can do this, but there would be no net gain to you, because you can’t collect the full value of both benefits. One of the experts I consult for these kinds of detailed benefit scenarios provided this explanation:

For example, say a guy is drawing a monthly spousal benefit of $1,000. His own age 70 benefit would be $3,000, but he doesn’t file until 6 months after his 70th birthday. He would continue drawing the $1,000 spousal benefit until SSA processes his claim for his retirement benefits, but SSA would then deduct what he’d already been paid in spousal benefits from his retroactive retirement benefits.

In other words, he’d be paid a total of $18,000 for those 6 months regardless of whether he gets $1,000 for 6 months plus a net of $12,000 in back pay ($18,000 minus $6,000), or if he just files at 70. in which case he’d get no spousal benefits and $3,000 per month in retirement benefits.