Social Security Spouse Benefits – Key Concepts

spouse_social_security Do you understand how Social Security retirement benefits work for (and with) your spouse? If not, you are not alone. Here is a summary of some key concepts in claiming and receiving a benefit as a husband or wife of a Social Security retiree.

Claiming a Spousal Social Security Benefit

If your spouse is alive and receiving Social Security retirement benefits, you may be eligible to receive a spousal benefit, even if you do not have enough work credits of your own (or have never worked at all).

Eligibility begins at age 62. The maximum spousal benefit is 50% of what your husband or wife receives. However, if you retire and claim the spousal benefit before your full retirement age (typically 66), the benefit will be less than 50%. This reduction in benefit depends on how many months before full retirement age you begin.

If you have worked, you can make a claim for your own benefits and can claim the greater of your own benefit or the spousal benefit. This should be carefully planned to maximize the overall benefit to the spouse.  The Social Security Administration explains it this way:

If your spouse has reached full retirement age and is eligible for a spouse’s benefit and his or her own retirement benefit, he or she has a choice. Your spouse can choose to receive only the spouse’s benefit now and delay receiving retirement benefits until a later date. If retirement benefits are delayed, a higher benefit may be received at a later date based on the effect of delayed retirement credits.

In other words, it may be to your advantage to claim one benefit (e.g. the spousal benefit) earlier than your own, to take advantage of the annual increase in benefits that come from waiting until age 70.

This “claim now then claim more later” strategy can be used even if the spouse continues to work. You (the still working spouse) claim a spousal benefit. While you continue to work,  your own retirement benefit continues to grow at 8 percent a year. Moreover, your additional work credits may increase the size of your benefit as well. When you reach age 70 (the maximum benefit age), you can switch from a spousal benefit to claim your own benefit, if it is greater.

Just don’t forget that if you claim any benefit before full retirement age, that benefit will be permanently reduced.

Social Security Spouse Claim and Suspend Strategy

Another technique  for maximizing total Social Security retirement benefits received by a married couple is to use the “claim and suspend” strategy. This strategy can work if you can afford to wait until age 70 to claim all of your benefits.

The basic claim and suspend method involves the following steps:

1. One spouse claims his or her Social Security benefit. The other spouse signs up for the spousal benefit. The first spouse then immediately notifies Social Security that he or she wants to “suspend” his or benefit. This causes the primary benefit to stop but the spousal benefit continues.

During the time that the primary benefit is suspended, the amount of the benefit will increase by 8 percent a year, until age 70. The spouse then “unsuspends” and collects the larger benefit.

Again, you can use this strategy only if you are at full retirement age and have never collected early benefits.

Surviving Spouse Social Security Benefit

The benefit rules that apply to the surviving widow or widower of a deceased Social Security retiree are different. First, the survivor’s benefit can be as much as 100% of the benefit received by the deceased spouse. This means that if a spouse was receiving a 50% spousal benefit, that can double upon the death of the other spouse. (Not that this a good thing, but it helps a little.)

Second, the survivor’s benefit can be claimed by a spouse who is at least age 60. This is two years sooner than eligibility for a normal spousal benefit.

However, if the surviving spouse claims a survivor’s benefit before reaching full retirement age, the benefit will be decreased by as much as 28.5%, depending on age.

Final Thoughts on Social Security Spouse Benefits

I think the key takeaway from this discussion is this: Never claim your own Social Security retirement benefit without considering: (1) how it might affect your spouse after you die; and (2) how coordinating regular and spousal benefits can maximize the total Social Security payments that you receive as a married couple.

Photo credit:  Travis Jon Alison


Comments

  1. says

    Assume the husband and wife are both 66 (FRA).
    “Let’s say the husband is entitled to $1,200 a month based on his earnings record, and his wife is entitled to $500 a month on her record.
    ——————————————————————–
    Question:
    Why couldn’t the husband file and suspend and the wife instead file now for spousal benefits and receive 1/2 the husbands $1200 = $600. Then the huspand files again for spousal benefits resulting in 1/2 $500 = $250.
    The total couples income of $250 + $600 = $850/month thru age 70.
    Then the husband files for his own benefit.

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Robert: Check with the SSA to be sure but my understanding is that if you file and suspend, you cannot receive a lower spousal benefit. In other words, if the husband files for his own larger benefit and then suspends, when he claims a spousal benefit from his wife, he is technically “double-dipping” which is a violation of the dual entitlement rule. The SSA says that if you are entitled to two benefits (your own or your spouse’s), you must claim the the greater of the two. When claiming and suspending, you are still “entitled” to your own higher benefit. Thus, your strategy won’t work. But I like the way you think!

  2. says

    Thanks for your reply above. Here’s a different scenario:

    Assume the husband is 66 and wife is 70.
    “Let’s say the husband is entitled to $1,200 a month based on his earnings record, and his wife is entitled to $500 a month on her record.

    If the husband files and suspends does the wife receive $600 or
    32% more because of her age?

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Robert- My understanding is that the maximum spousal benefit is 50%. Once the spouse hits FRA, that’s it. So in your example, $600 would be the spousal benefit.

  3. says

    Thanks for your reply above. Here’s a different scenario:

    Assume the husband is 66 and wife is 66.
    “Let’s say the husband is entitled to $1,200 a month based on his earnings record, and his wife is entitled to $500 a month on her record.”

    If the husband files and suspends at 67 and the wife files at 67,
    does the wife receive 1/2 $1200 *1.08 = $648?

    Also what is the recommded ages the husband and wife should file and/or suspend based on the initial scenario?

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Robert: My understanding is that the maximum spousal benefit is 50% of the Primary Insurance Amount which is reached at full retirement age. In other words, the spousal benefit cannot be increased by delayed retirement credits.

  4. says

    I am age 62 female and retired. Can I get early benefits on my earned social security and then at age 66 file for spousal benefits of 50%. My husband is already full retirement age 67.

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Jeanne – I don’t think that will work. Check with SSA to be sure but my understanding is that if you claim your own benefit before full retirement age, that will also permanently reduce the percentage of a later claimed spousal benefit, i.e., it will be less than 50% of your husband’s Primary Insurance Benefit.

      • john says

        we accept that the benefit is permently reduced, but could we not have the spouse with lower benefit suspend at full retirement age, collect the “reduced” 50% spousal until that person reaches 70 and then be able to receive the increase in value due to the suspension of the individual payments?

  5. mary says

    Thanks for your help. Another scenario: If I am 62 and retired and eligible for Soc Sec benefits, and my husband is 69 and waiting until he is 70 to collect full benefits at a rate about twice what I would receive at 70, would it make sense for me to collect any benefits before full retirement age (66)? If I start collecting at 62 will that make me ineligible for 100% of my husband’s benefits when he dies?

  6. mary says

    In another posting, Funny about money wrote that SS can be used as a kind of interest-free loan because ”You can start taking payments before you hit full retirement age and then, when you’re 66, you can turn back the amount you’ve drawn down and reset your payments at the full retirement rate.” The posting indicates that even the tax paid on those early SS benefits is returned? Would you recommend such a strategy if, for financial reasons, the extra cash is needed at 62 but not at 66 (when, for example, the house may be sold)?

  7. Richard says

    I turn 62 this year. My wife is 58. She does not have enough credits for social security. If I retire at 62, is she entitled to a spousal benefit? If so, what is the percentage?

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Richard: Your wife will be entitled to a spousal benefit but not until she reaches 62. It will be a reduced benefit if she claims it before full retirement age (66). The percentage can be determined from tables available at the SSA website.

  8. Bob says

    Hi Richard,
    Your wife is indeed entitled to a spousal benefit but not until she is at least 62. I’m not sure if it will be 50% of yours or if it is reduced. Contact Social Security for the estimated amou8nts.

    Note also that she is also entitled to a surviver benefit equal to 100% of yours upon your death (but not sure if she still needs to be at least 62 to collect).

  9. Gladi8or says

    My wife and I are both 60. We will both be eligible for SS at 62. Her income is about 1/3 of mine. Let me pose this scenario:

    At 62, my wife will draw her SS with me getting the spousal benefit on her account. This will result in a $500/mo shortfall over what we would have if I started drawing then. We will make up the difference by drawing an extra $500/mo from our nestegg. The lost interest will be far less than the 6%/yr gain I’ll get in SS benefits.

    At 70, we’ll stop my wife’s SS and start mine, with her as “spouse”. At that time my SS will be nearly TWICE what it would have been if I started it at 62…and will remain that way for my life, and then hers as survivor. After those first 8 years, our draw from the nestegg will drop dramatically; leaving it pretty much as an emergency fund and a hedge against inflation.

    This sounds too good to be true. But IS it?

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Yes I believe it is too good to be true. According to my view of the situation, if you claim a spousal benefit you are telling the SSA that you have “retired” and are now claiming SS retirement benefits. The SSA will look to see if the benefit from your own earnings record is higher than the spousal benefit and if so, pay you that. You will not get the increased benefit from delaying until age 70.

      • Gladi8or says

        Yep! Further reasearch shows you are right.

        However, another plan (the “62/70 strategy”) is almost as good:
        She (the lesser wage-earner) starts drawing on her account at 62. At 70, I apply for mine (about 148% of what it would be at 62…plus COLAs!) and she gets a much larger spousal benefit because I waited. If, at any point in the plan, we find we can’t make it without both benefits, I apply; and we still get a higher rate than if we’d have started out on just mine plus spouse. Not what we’d get at 70, but still more. Google “social security 62/70″ for better explanations.

        • ss_strategist says

          You and Mr.GoTo are missing one important benefit you could reap:
          You can avoid Mr.GoTo’s gotcha, by waiting until Full Retirement Age to apply for spousal. At “FRA” you are allowed to apply for spousal benefit only, and will receive 1/2 of your wife’s unreduced benefit from age 66 to age 70, meanwhile growing your benefit until age 70!
          But choosing spousal only is not allowed until FRA.

          I am almost 100% positive that this does work, and it is our plan.

  10. steve taylor says

    My wife worked for 30 years. She died at age 57. will i ever see any of her benifit. I make more than she did and woulod receive more at age 65. I am also 57

  11. Gladi8or says

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    And the answer is no. Since your own benefit is greater than any “survivor” benefit on her account, that’s what you’ll get. You don’t get both.

  12. Linda says

    My husband is 66 and employed and began receiving social security benefits when he reached his full retirement age of 66. I am 65 and also employed. I am covered under a state pension plan and my social security benefit will be reduced according to the windfall provision formula. I plan to continue working and file for SS benefits when I reach 66, as they will not be reduced until I begin receiving my state pension benefit. Can I claim the 50% spousal benefit right now and still work or do I have to wait until I’m 66? (The 50% spousal rate is greater than my own benefit.)

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Linda: If you claim a spousal benefit before your full retirement age, it will be less than the maximum which is 50%. The SSA site has a table where you can calculate the amount. I do not know how the windfall provision may affect that.

  13. john host says

    I am a sixty one year old male and will be sixty two in april of this yr. My wife past away three years ago. She also worked but I don’t know what her acumative ss credit is. how can I find that out? and can I file on her’s if she had enough credits and then refile on mine when I reach my retirement age at sixty six and three months

    • Helen Lee says

      I am in the same boat. Its the second part I am interested in. My husband worked for 40 years before he died. Did you ever get an answer. Thanks in advance.

  14. Kathleen L. says

    My sister, kathleen, is married and she is turning 65 in April, 2010. Her husband is 62 and will be 63 in November, 2010. He applied in Feb., 2010 for her to receive her Medicare & S.S. on his S.S. since she never worked. My sister received a letter from S.S. stating that her S.S. Ck will not begin until Sept. 2010, even though her Medicare begins April 1, 2010. Since her husband is still working and he makes too much, is that why S.S. is holding back her S.S. check until Sept. instead of April? Please advise as we are totally confused.

    Thanks

  15. Bob says

    I am 66 years old, full retirement age and get Social Security retirement benefit. I am not retired yet, I still working.
    My wife is 62 year old, she does not have enough Social Security credits.
    Can she apply for Social Security spouse benefit now or has to wait until I retired?

    • Mr. GoTo says

      Bob:

      If you are receiving SS retirement benefits and your spouse has reached age 62, she can apply for a spousal benefit based on your benefit. Her spousal benefit will be reduced if she applies before she reaches full retirement age.

  16. Kathleen L. says

    No. you misunderstood. My wife is older than me. She is 65 in April & I am 62 yrs old. Though I applied for benefits this year, I will not be getting a check until October because of my income. But I applied in February for my spouse to receive her benefits on my S.S. because she has no credits. But I’ve been informed by S.S. that she will begin to receive her payment in September instead of April – but I don’t understand why? Please help me understand.
    Thanks,

  17. says

    I am 6 years younger than my husband. He plans to collect SS when he reaches full retimment age 66, I plan to collect my SS at age 62. If he should pass away, do I get to change to my spouse’s amount of SS, and will I be penalized since I started mine at 62. I was under impression I could get his full amount, if it is larger than my amount.

  18. Keith T. says

    I will be 68 in September 2010 and plan on working til September 2011. My wife will be 63 in August 2010. Last week I applied and suspended my benefits at the same time my wife applied for her reduced Social Security benefits and spousal benefits. At this point is it possible for my wife to change her mind and elect to delay her spousal benefits given that I have already applied and suspended? It is my plan to retire in one year. Is she required to start receiving spousal benefits when I actively retire? Given that her income has been considerably less than mine, we are trying to determine our best course.

  19. says

    i have been married 18 years. i am 41 years old, been mostly A house wife. my husband is 65.. and is starting his retirement.now we are sepererated, i am curently waiting on my s.s.disabilty..but he was the so to speak bread winner..am i eligable for any assitance, or intitled to any of his retirement.benifit,s he even took me off his health insurance plan.

  20. terry says

    I am divorced and did not work for 30 years. I am 60 and my ex is 58. I do not expect him to retire at 65. The S.S. office say I can not start collecting until my ex husband starts collecting his S.S. Why is that? I need mine before he does what is there to do?

  21. Dawby says

    I am 67 yrs old (will be 68 in Dec of this year)
    I do not have enough SS credits to collect SS Benefits on my own Record
    I am twice widowed
    First marriage lasted 4 yrs (1963-1967) Military Widow,
    1 surviving child, now grown
    Second marriage was only 3 months (Jan-March 1984) 2nd Husband died of Cancer,
    2 surviving children, now grown
    Am I eligible for Medi Medi Care?
    Am I eligible for Survivivors SS Old Age Benefits?
    When I contacted SS a few years ago, I was told that I am not eligible on my first husband’s record because I was married to him less than 10 yrs and, I was also not eligible on my second husnand’s record because the marriage lasted less than 9 months
    I have been disabled for quite some time now and am very concerned about surviving financially
    Please advise
    Thank you

  22. Gary L says

    I retired at 62 and I’m currently 68 drawing about $1666 mth.

    My wife will retire at 62 in two years. Her estimated social security is $540 per month at 62 and about $750 at 66. Drawing against my social security at the reduced amount is $580. My question is can she draw as the
    spouse amount ($580) and then at age 66 draw on her full retirement of $750?

  23. Trish K. says

    Im researching SS benefits for my mother, whom is now 65 years old. My question is this: Even though she earned 25 credits of the 40 required, can she qualify for spousal benefits from my dad’s SS? This stuff is quite confusing. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

  24. says

    my husband passed away on monday set 27. they have already stopped his ss check he was to get on oct 1 . will i still get mine on the 11th of october?
    i have no money and i hear it might take another month to start receiving his s

    • Sandy J says

      Sandy K,
      My husband also passed away on Sept. 27, 2010, so we have alot in common. I did not receive his SS check in October. I did eventually receive a check but the amount was not what I thought it would be. Don’t know how the amount was determined. It has been a nightmare with SS. Now, they claim they over paid him and want me to pay back almost $10,000 or they will suspend my benefits in April, 2011. SS is the only income I have and I am a total wreck over this. I have appealed, but haven’t heard anything yet.

  25. Ken says

    my wife is 66 and does not have enough credits to collect SSI.
    I am 62 and do not plan to retire until 66.
    Is there any way my wife can collect now?

  26. ALAN BOISSONNEAULT says

    MY WIFE WORKED CIVIL SERVICE FOR 27 YEARS AND RETIRED EARLY SHE DRAWS AN ANNUITY AND THUS HER SSN IS REDUCED.SHE RETIRED EARLY @62. WE WANT TO SUSPEND HER SSN AND HAVE HER DRAW HALF OF MINE.WE WERE TOLD IT WOULD NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IT WOULD STILL BE REDUCED ACCORDING TO SOCIAL SECURITY.I DO NOT THINK THEY ARE CORRECT.ARE THERE FORMS TO BE FILLED OUT TO SUBMIT TO SOCIAL SECURITY.

  27. Jim says

    I am 66 and have just applied for SS retirement benefits. My wife is 62 and qualifies for her own SS retirement benefits. Based on her work record, her full retirement benefit at 66 (FRA) is more than 1/2 of my full retirement benefit. Because of this, The SSA tells us that she is not entitled to recieve ANY spousal benefit based on my work record. Is this true? Please explain.

    • bugsy says

      reading the blue background box at the top of this page with the SSA comments states that that your spouse AT FULL RETIREMENT age can elect to use the spousal benefit and delay taking hers until a later date…if she takes her own now before full retirement age you can pay all these benefits back at her full retirement age and proceed as noted. UNTIL her full retirement age the SSA will only pay the greater amount ie no choice until she reaches full retirement age(we DID pay back “suspend” in SSA lingo at my spouses full retirement age so i know this works)

  28. ALAN BOISSONNEAULT says

    I AM 68 AND GET DISABILITY SSA.MY WIFE WORKED 27 YEARS FOR THE FEDERAL GOV AND RETIRED AT 62 SHE HAD ENOUGH QUARTERS BEFORE WORKING FOR THE GOVERMENT TO DRAW HER OWN SSA WHICH SHE DID.THEN WE WERE TOLD SHE WAS OVER PAYED BECAUSE SHE HAS AN ANNUITY FROM THE GOV SHE COMES UNDER A WINDFALL.SHE IS NO 70 AND WE WANT TO SUSPEND HER SSA AND HAVE HER DRAW HALF OF MINE.SSA SAYS SHE WILL STILL BE UNDER THE WINDFALL EVEN IF SHE DRAWS HALF OF MINE.SHE NOW ONLY GETS UNDER 200.00.IF SHE WERE TO COME UNDER THE WINDFALL AFTER DRAWING HALF OF MINE WOULD IT BE MORE THAN 200.00

  29. Ken says

    I am 62 in a couple months, mu wife is 66. She never made enough credits to receive SS. I plan on working until I am 66. When I turn 62, is there any way my wife can collect on my SS?

  30. Larry says

    I am currently retired and receiving a public pension (subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision). I have, however, qualified for Social Security through other employment. My wife is also qualified for Social Security and plans to work until at least age 66 (FRA for both of us – we are currently 63).

    From what I have read here and elsewhere, I believe I should be able to draw benefits on my own account now (reduced by the WEP of course) and then draw the larger spousal benefit on her account when she retires (neither of which should be subject to the WEP). I contacted SS via phone and was told this would not work – that once I began to draw benefits, I was locked in. Which position is correct?
    \
    Thanks

  31. Larry says

    ttempted to pursue the “claim now, claim more later” strategy and was told by Social Security that whatever benefit I claimed now would be locked in for life. I am 62 and retired, my wife is the same age and plans to continue to work to at least 66. Since my pension plan did not coordinate with Social Security, my benefit (qualified by other employment) will be decimated by the Windfall Elimination Provision. My plan was to claim my own benefit now (the gains in a small benefit from waiting for full retirement age would be small and the reduced further by the WEP) and then claim the spousal benefit when my wife retires.

    Social Security told me no. Is this strategy invalid in my case or should I go back to Social Security and ask again?

  32. John Christensen says

    I am almost 66 and have been drawing a benefit of $2,100 per month. My wife is almost 61 and will have her own benefit of about $2,000 per month at her age 66. Can she begin drawing a spousal benefit at her age 62 and then switch to her own retirement benefit at her normal retirement age of 66? What would her spousal benefit be?

    • bugsy says

      as i noted in a post above, my understanding is that if she files at age 62 she has NO choice as to what she can do…it is the max of either spousal or her own. if her own bennies are less (seems doutful based on you numbers)then at full retirement age you can pay back her bennies and go to spousal allowing her own bennies to increase until age 70..

  33. Brandi A says

    My husband is 62 and I am 61. He has always made a lot more money than me so his SS benefits will be a lot more than mine. I want to retire at 62 and he will continue working until his FRA. I would continue to work part time, until my FRA. I would not even come close to the $14k a year limit. He makes under $36k. and it probably will stay that way. Does it make sense for me to collect what I can now? If he should pass away before me, would I then be eligible for 100% survivor benefits? And lastly, we will have medical BC/BS from his work until he retires. Would I have to enroll in Medicare at 65 while he has me on his BC/BS? Thanks for any insight.

  34. Ellen L says

    My husband will be 66 this November and has applied for social security benefits which he’ll receive in December. I am 63 and have spent just about all my married life raising my children and and very few work years. I applied for social security and was told I do not have enough credits “on my own record” to apply. I would need 18 more credits, but this is contrary to what I have read about spousal benefits. I knew I would not apply on my own benefit but on my spouses. Should I appeal the decision or wait and reapply. I did not mention that I have an autoimmune disease diagnosed in my later years but that I may have had for many years unknowingly when I applied because I thought the spousal benefit would cover me and since I haven’t worked in years and years I had no reason to apply for any other benefits. Should I bring this up now if I appeal? It is a difficult situation because it is not like I can’t function, but I do have fatigue and I know that it would be difficult for me to hold down a job and at my age it would be difficult getting a job.

  35. Randy says

    My wife and I are 61 years old. At full retirement, age 66, I will receive $2200 and my wife $750. Since 1/2 of my benefit is greater than her full benefit, could she begin taking a reduced benefit at age 62 which calculates at about $550, and then at age 66 get 50% of my benefit, or $1100 without any reduction in benefit? Are there any drawbacks to this approach?

  36. Sue says

    About two years ago I started receiving SS disability, I am 58 and my husband worked for the Correctional System and they didn’t take out ss. He is now 62 and had put in for his ss and now receives $250/mo. We are both retired on disability. I know that he can’t receive any of my ss disability now, but when I come of retirement age, what is it 66 or 70yo, my ssd will change to regular ss and I will get about $1200. Is there anything that we can do to get my husband at that time half of my money, or anything that we can do now so he gets more?

  37. Bob Ochoa says

    I am 77 years old and been retired 10 years. My companion (54 Yrs. old) and I have been living together over 9 years. If we married, could she receive my SS benefits when I pass on and at what age?
    Look forward to your response.

  38. Dave Caviezel says

    Under the above heading of “Social Security Spouse Claim and Suspend Strategy” you say, “1. One spouse claims his or her Social Security benefit. The other spouse signs up for the spousal benefit. The first spouse then immediately notifies Social Security that he or she wants to “suspend” his or benefit. This causes the primary benefit to stop but the spousal benefit continues.”

    When the primary benefit spouse reaches, say, age 70 and starts receiving benefits, can the spouse then claim 1/2 of the now larger amount (age 70 1/2 benefit vs. age 66 1/2 benefit)?
    I ask this because in our case 1/2 would still be more than my wife’s benefit based on her own work record.
    Thanks very much,
    Dave

  39. says

    My wife and I are both retired and taking social security benefits. Our benefits are reduced because we both took them at 62, she is now 70 and I am 71 and she gets 1200/mo and I get 1850/mo and we are able to live on our benefits but our fixed costs are such that if either one of us dies the others social security benefits will not cover them. Would either of us get some portion of the others benefits when they die

  40. carol lee says

    My husband is 59 and is on disability. He receives 1400/month. I, the wife, am 65, almost 66, and receive 568/mo. Am I able to apply for spousal support and receive 50% of his disability, totaling $700/mo
    Thank you

  41. Shane Caldwell says

    I am 56. My wife was 51 when she died from cancer last December. When I tetire will I receive any of her Social Security? Thanks.

  42. Ross P. says

    I am 57, my wife is 73. She did not work much, so she has a low SS benefit. I have worked (and continue to work). Can my wife get 50% of my SS? Does that change each year (i.e., to account for another year that I have worked)? If she can, how do we go about changing her SS benefit? Thanks!

  43. Lidia Ficner Reynolds says

    Hi my husband die 2 mouths before retirements can claim any thing about he`s retirement I am 46 year old and I didnt work the last 3 years
    thanks

  44. S. E. Smith says

    My husband passed away in July of 2011 at the age of 60. I am receiving my own social security now at age 63 (took it early at 62)
    Can I get any spousal benefits?
    Thanks

    • gary says

      Wife is 65 and started receiving SS at 62. I am 60 and plan to work until at least FRA of 66. Can she reapply when I am 66 and get half of what I’ll get? Or if I apply and suspend at 66 can she reapply and get half at that time?

  45. George Andersen says

    My wife will be 62 in August and will claim social security based on her previous work. I am still working at 65 and may not claim social security until I am 70. Will her claiming social security at 62 affect my working limits?

  46. Wanda says

    Ido not have enough credits for ss.. can I draw acheck off of my husbands check? will it hurt his check in any way?

  47. e raymond says

    I am 65 and will be eligible for SS benefits in August. My husband, who is 68, recently applied for SS benefits. My question I hope has a simple answer. Should I apply for half of his SS benefits instead of applying for mine? I will receive close to 4 times less than his benefits, and how would that affect his benefits. Would he receive his full benefits if I get half of it or would he get half as much?

  48. Brad says

    Is it possible for my wife to start collecting HER benefits at age 62(understood ar reduced rate) and then 3 years later collect 50% of MY benefits when I retire at FULL retirement age?

  49. Ron Neu says

    I am 74 and have been drawing social security benefits since my 65th birthday. My wife is 69 and has been drawing social security benefits since her 65th birthday. My monthly benefit is $1720. My wife’s monthly benefit is $574.
    At what point can my wife start receiving half of my benefits or $860 per month instead of her current $574?

  50. says

    My husband is dying of cancer and collecting SS Disability. Can I continue to collect his disability when he dies even thought I am still working full time? I am 63.

  51. terri smith says

    I am on civil service retirement, was married for 35 years and have been divorced for 7 years. Can I claim on my exhusbands social security account? I have been told I can and I have also been told that the amount of my civil service retirement is considered and if it is more than the amount I would get from my ex’s soc security, I won’t get any from social security. Advise please Thanks

  52. says

    I am confused on whether or not I did this correctly. My husband (age 64) is receiving his social security. I applied for spousal benefit (1/2 of my husband SS). I am 67 and plan on working until age 70. Did I do this correctly? When I applied for spousal benefit, was I supposed to say something about suspend? I am rather fuzzy about when to state suspend to the Social Security Department. Thank you for your advice.

  53. Joyce Hawkins says

    I am 63 yrs. old and drawing SS disability. I am planning on getting married to a gentleman who has not paid enough into SS to get any benefits. Could he draw from my SS. He is 66 yrs. old.

  54. Sheldon Lynch says

    My Father is 61 years old and has remarried a woman that is receiving full disability benefits. My question is … when he begins to receive his retirement benefits, will his wife’s disability benefits be affected? FYI: My father’s first wife (my mother) has since remarried as well. Can anyone help me with this question?

  55. Mike says

    A 67 year old male is receiving $1,800/mo benefit and his spouse (66) is receiving $700/mo. How is this possible? Shouldn’t the spouse’s benefit be at least 50% of his?

  56. arjindar ruprai says

    I am reacing age of 66 soon. I have a full time job and wish to continue working but want to apply for SS retirement benefit. My wife has never worked. Can she draw ss spouce benefits while I have a full time job?

  57. says

    My sis just died at age 61. She made decent money and had plenty of credits. Her husband is 64, should be on disability. He has enough credits but has always had a lower salary. Is he entitled to disability and mt sisters survivors survivor benefits now? He has no other income.

  58. Erin says

    My father passed away in June. My mother is collecting his SS ($1500) instead of hers ($400). Unfortunately, she needs to be in assisted living. She makes $300 too much/month $ to qualify for subsidized (where they would take her SS and leave her about $70 per month), but $1200 too little to be able to pay. She would be eligible for Aid and attendance from the VA, but even with that it is not enough and we can’t afford to front the money for as long as a year.

    Can she now change her election and get her $400 instead of his $1500 so she will be eligible for the subsidized assisted living?

  59. lee templeton says

    My wife will be 62 in April 2013. She plans to begin to take a reduced amount for social security@ $675.00 If I keep working my payment at age 66 will be $2500.00. Can she opt for spousal retirement when I retire rather than keeping he own amount?

  60. Rob says

    I am 64, no longer working and eligible for 2,500 p/mo when i reach 66. My wife is 61 working and earning 200k p/yr (she has worked more than 30 years and always been a high income earner). My question is does it make sense for me to start collecting my SS now, or wait until FRA. Our combined savings are now $2.2M and we have no debt

  61. Fran says

    I am currently 65 yrs old and planning on working till I’m 66. My husband is 64 yrs old and hopefully will continue to work till 68. When I reach full age, although, my own benefits will be just about 1/2 (or maybe more than half) of my husbands, would I be allowed to use spousal benefits until my husband retires? and allow mine to grow more? Will his benefit continue to grow although I am taking 50%? and can I get his benefit if taking my own would be more than 50% of his.

  62. fred deutsch says

    I am 66 and receiving widowers benefits since I was 62 from my diseased wife’s SS. I retired at age 58 and have not worked. I would like to start receiving my own SS, which is much higher, at age 70. Could not get any assistance from local SS office. What do I need to do?

    • Larry Feldman says

      I am 61 and presently receiving SS disability payments. My wife is 63, has not worked for 20 years and does not receive any SS benefits. If she would receive a SS benefit for her income it would be much lower than her spousal benefit. We have been married for 33 years.
      I am trying to understand what would be the the best strategy to maximize my wife’s spousal benefit. We can make it financially until she is 66 or 70 if that would increase her benefit. I expect, based on her family’s longevity and general health, that she will live until she is in her 90’s.
      Would waiting until she is 66 or 70 increase her spousal benefit or would her spousal benefit be a full 50%, based on my disability amount at 63?
      Thank you

  63. sam says

    I am 67 and will be eligible for SS benefits. I like to claim and suspend social security until 70 years old.
    My wife is 67 also and will apply for spousal benefit (50%) before I’ll suspend it. She didn’t work and no SS benefits on her records. When I “unsuspend” and start collecting the greater benefit at 70, will my wife’s benefit be increased to the new 50% of my benefit?

  64. Ronald le blanc says

    U.S. kept my ss old age pension,after I got deported, they are not suppose to do that ,that is federal money, I paid in for 51 year. I was a leagle reseden, pleace help me

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