How is the Social Security spousal benefit calculated at full retirement age and at age 70?

My wife is older than me by several years and is already getting her FRA amount paid to her ($1,200) from Social Security. When I reach my FRA age, she will be entitled to the 50 percent amount of my FRA benefit (let's say I will get $2,800 at my FRA), so she will now be eligible for $1,400 (the larger amount). My highest 35 years is mostly above the yearly taxes paid. Her benefit of $1,200 plus the difference of the spousal benefit of $200 brings her new total to $1,400.

If I wait until age 70 and take the larger amount (additional 32 percent over the $2,800), does her 50 percent spousal benefit also go up (50 percent of my higher amount at age 70)? Or is her 50 percent spousal benefit capped at my FRA benefit ($2,800) and the most she would ever receive is $1,400?

Social Security, Taxes
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3 days ago

No, your wife's 50% spousal benefit will never be more than 50% of your FRA benefit. Using your numbers, her spousal benefit would be capped at $1,400. Spouses do not receive delayed credits. However, in terms of maximizing your household benefits, if you were born before January 1, 1954, and thereby grandfathered under the old claiming rules, at your FRA you may be able to place a restricted claim against your wife's earnings and receive 50% of her FRA benefit while you let your own grow to age 70. At that time you would switch from your restricted claim to your own benefit with delayed credits. 

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