When to apply for H4 and H4 EAD processing while currently working on cap-exempt H1b?

I am currently working on regular cap-subject H1b visa with my i-140 approved and my wife is working on H1B cap-exempt visa since 2012. Her i-140 is approved with priority date Oct 15th, 2014. Recently, her company lost its cap-exempt status secondary to which she is unable to get a cap-exempt H1B extension with them. Her cap-exempt H1B visa is valid till August 13th, 2018.This leaves us with 3 options best known to us: 1) Get H4 and H4-EAD (as my dependent)2) Transfer to another H1B cap-exempt company (Having a hard time finding a not-for-profit company)3) Apply for regular H1B lottery this year on April 2, 2018 (with a regular cap-subject company)Her current company(which is a for-profit company now) is going to file for her under regular H1B lottery on April 2, 2018. However, to be honest we have lost our trust with her current company due to several reasons. In addition, she is applying for jobs with other cap-exempt organizations as well. As per recent update, in June 2018 the current H4 EAD guidelines may be revised but we still wanted to look into H4 EAD option as well just in case it stays. Currently, my visa has been filed for extension under premium processing for H1B extension and is going to be adjudicated before April 2nd, 2018. Do you think that applying for a H4 EAD for my wife right now will be a good idea considering my H1b extension is being processed?We were informed by a friend, that we should apply for H4 and H4 EAD while my H1b extension file is under premium processing with a H4 EAD start date of August 14th, 2018 in order to expedite H4 and H4 EAD processing for my wife. Another friend suggested, to put a start date on my wife’s H4 EAD for May 30, 2018 in order to avoid any negative impact arising from possible changes to current H4 EAD guidelines in June 2018.What would you suggest?An ideal case for my wife would be to continue employment with her current company until her H1b expires on August 13th, 2018 and then continue employment on H4 EAD with same company or any other company. Then, if in case, her H1B visa gets picked up in this year’s(2018) lottery, she can continue to work at her current workplace on regular H1B from Oct 1 2018.If possible please share the fee structure for processing of the H4 and H4 EAD. Thank you taking the time out to answer these queries.

I would suggest that you allow the company to apply for her regular H1B through lottery this year. Change of status from H1 to H4 cannot be done through premium processing stand alone. It is only your H1B petition that goes through premium processing and not H4 (usually gets approved within 3-5 days after you get your H1 approval, but H1B season may change this duration)

In case you apply for her H4 and CoS along with your petition, she will loose her H1B status from the period her status gets changed to H4. So, automatically she can longer work on H1B and will have to start working on H4 EAD immediately once she goes into H4. If her H1 is picked and get approved, she will have to do a change of status again from H4 to H1 and that may take again months to get approved ( premium processing is not available for H4/ change of status petitions)

If she does not want to have a gap in employment, it is better to apply for H4 change of status and H4 EAD now … and move to H1 later by applying another CoS if she is lucky and gets picked in lottery.

An ideal case for my wife would be to continue employment with her current company until her H1b expires on August 13th, 2018 and then continue employment on H4 EAD with same company or any other company

The above cannot be done, as once she goes into H4 status (if applied along with your petition and H4 gets approved), she can no longer work in H1B until Aug 13th 2018. If H4 EAD is also approved she will have to work on H4 EAD from then on.