If you are married or divorced and nearing retirement age, you may be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits. If they qualify, your ex-spouse, spouse, or child may receive a monthly payment of up to one-half of your retirement benefit amount. There are two exceptions where deemed filing doesn’t apply: The second loophole that the law ended was a practice called file and suspend. Example: Jane files for her retirement benefit at age 63 and is therefore receiving a retirement benefit that is smaller than her PIA. The earliest you can claim survivor benefits is age 60 (whereas the earliest you could be eligible for retirement or spousal benefits is age 62). That allowed them to rack up delayed retirement credits until they turned 70. Thus, in this case, the final spousal benefit is 37.5 percent of the primary Applying a 25 percent reduction to the $800 amount gives a spousal benefit They can even provide a nice supplement to your 401(k) or IRA distributions. En español | When a Social Security beneficiary dies, his or her surviving spouse is eligible for survivor benefits. Otherwise we pay the spousal benefit. and the worker's spouse chooses to begin receiving benefits 36 months before his or her For 2020, the earnings test limit is $18,240. 7  If one spouse is already receiving their own benefits, and later becomes eligible for a spousal benefit, there is a formula that is used to determine what amount of spousal benefit (if any) they may receive. and if that benefit is higher than the spousal benefit, then we pay the How Much Is the Social Security Spousal Benefit? In that scenario, the higher earning spouse would file for earned retirement benefits when he or she reached full retirement age, but then suspend those benefits. If you receive spousal benefits and are also entitled to disability. If you were born on Jan. 2, 1954 or later, and you are married, the higher earning spouse may consider delaying claiming their benefits until age 70 to increase the benefit with delayed retirement credits. 2. month following the effective month. If you continue to work while receiving benefits, the retirement benefit earnings limit still applies until you reach full retirement age. Social Security spousal benefits allow one spouse to draw a benefit based on the earnings record of their current spouse, or in some cases a divorced ex-spouse. Then we compute the reduction factor, which is 36 times 25/36 of one percent, or A: When a claimant is on a Social Security disability claim, spousal benefits are payable under that claim as soon as the spouse reaches age 62, says David Cechanowicz a … The 2015 law, however, changed the rules so that anyone born on or after Jan. 2, 1954 is affected by deemed filing even after he or she reaches full retirement age. If you’re divorced, to qualify for spousal benefits you must: The amount of your spousal benefit depends on 1) your spouse’s earnings history and 2) how old you are when you claim your benefits. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is Social Security Spousal Benefits often represent a large part of the total benefits available to a couple. who do not have a qualifying child in their care, If you enter your date of birth and the effective month for which you would Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to one-half the amount … When can a spouse claim spousal benefits? Based on the GPO provision, if a person receives a government pension based on their earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes, any Social Security spousal or survivor benefits … Social Security benefits that may extend to the spouse are known as “SSA spousal benefits”. Social Security calculates and pays the higher amount. & Other Important Information. for a qualifying child, the spousal benefit is not reduced. People receiving spousal benefits based on ex-spouses will continue to get their benefits even if the spouse suspends theirs. A recent law changed the way many people can claim spousal benefits. Note that the full retirement age for survivors is different than the full retirement age for Social Security retirement benefits. Any age and caring for a child entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record who is younger than age 16 or disabled. (Check the Social Security website to determine your FRA, as it depends on your year of birth.) Thanks for your question. The amount you’re allowed to earn while receiving benefits depends on your age. Calculate the Social Security you’re owed, which is based on birth year, and could be between age 65 and 67, Have a spouse that is already collecting their Social Security benefits, Have an earned benefit that is lower than your potential spousal benefit, Be age 62 or taking care of a child who is age 16 or younger or disabled, who is the child of your spouse and who is also receiving Social Security benefits based on the spouse’s work record, Have been married to the relevant ex-spouse for at least 10 years, Be unmarried (your ex, however, can be remarried), Have been divorced for two years before you claim, If you’re taking care of a child who is younger than 16 or who is disabled. A spousal benefit is reduced 25/36 of one percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. However, spousal benefits are reduced by 25/36 of 1% for each month before your full retirement age, up to 36 months early. Indeed, to claim Social Security spousal benefits, you’ll need to meet certain criteria. (Note: there is an exception to this rule for spousal benefits – see the loophole directly below). That 50% is the most you could be eligible for—but as with earned benefits, you’ll receive less if you claim before your full retirement age. If you were not born in the U.S., you will need to show lawful alien status, U.S. military discharge papers if you served before 1968, W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year. For a spouse who is not entitled to benefits on his or her own earnings record, this reduction factor is applied to the base spousal benefit, which is 50 percent of A Social Security spousal benefit is calculated as 50% of the other spouse’s PIA. Social Security is much broader than just the benefits provided to retired workers. Another requirement is that the spouse must Jane’s husband Bob files for a benefit as Jane’s spouse. How are spousal benefits calculated for Social Security? If you’re eligible and can qualify, the spousal benefit can be as much as 50% of the higher-earning spouse’s full retirement age benefit. His or her spouse, however, was still allowed to start collecting spousal benefits. The earliest you can claim spousal benefits is 62—but how early you claim plays an important role in maximizing your benefits. Next, the SSA calculates 50% of your spouse’s PIA. Normally a spousal benefit is 50% of the spouse's FRA benefit amount, reduced if the spouse claiming the spousal benefit is filing for benefits early. Lower-earning spouses who claim their own Social Security benefit before full retirement age take a cut of as much as 25%. Calculate what you're owed from Social Security in 2 minutes. If you claim benefits before your full retirement age (table directly below), your benefits will be permanently reduced based on the number of months until you reach that age. / When you apply for benefits, Social Security will automatically consider you to be applying for both your own benefits and any spousal benefits. ), Proof of U.S. citizenship. Once you reach age 62, you are entitled to receive a spousal benefit even if you have never worked. Claiming early permanently reduces your benefits. Who is eligible for spousal benefits from Social Security? 5. Social Security spousal benefits may be available, under certain circumstances to spouses, ex-spouses and widows and widowers. There are many differences between spousal benefits and survivor benefits. The many rules can feel confusing, and the best way to calculate your own benefit is to use a Social Security benefits calculator. further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month. We break down everything you need to know, and how to apply for spousal benefits. Spousal benefits are based on the income earned during a qualifying worker’s life, as well as the retirement age of both the worker and their spouse. When a worker files for retirement benefits, the worker's spouse may be eligible for a In those cases, you can file a restricted application for spousal benefits without also applying for earned benefits. It will always be based on your mate’s primary insurance amount. She said social security told her when she elected to receive her own benefit at age 62 she eliminated the option to collect a spousal benefit. In order to be eligible for spousal benefits, your spouse or ex-spouse must still be living. There are also other scenarios where you can claim survivor benefits at a younger age (and a reduced percentage), including if you are taking care of a child under the age of 16 or you are disabled. You can apply for retirement benefits at age 70 to receive all the delayed retirement credits.Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance, and when you’re ready, you can apply for your retirement benefits online.. With survivor benefits, you also are allowed to file a restricted application (applying just for your own earned benefits or just for survivor benefits). If you were born before Jan. 2, 1954, and haven’t claimed your own benefits yet, you are still able to take advantage of the loophole. Social Security spousal benefits are just one of these features. Here’s what you need to know about how the Social Security Administration calculates spousal benefits. Eligibility requirements and benefit information. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues benefits to retired workers as supportive income once the worker claims retirement benefits at or after age 62. Again, this means you will not have a choice about waiting and switching. benefit based on the worker's earnings. Economic Security Planning, Inc. Today’s column addresses questions about when it’s possible to file for spousal benefits, who can still file restricted applications for spousal benefits only, divorced spousal benefits after early retirement benefits and eligibility for disability benefits … You can file for spousal benefits the same way you would earned benefits: on the Social Security Administration website, by phone at 1-800-772-1213, or by visiting your local Social Security field office. Social Security spousal benefits are some of the most generous benefits you'll receive in retirement. like to begin receiving benefits, we will tell you the effect of early retirement Social Security spousal benefits are a part of a worker’s retirement or disability benefit given to their spouse. Will My Wife Get Social Security Spousal Benefits When I Start My Retirement Benefits? But you have the advantage of not needing to wait for your ex to file for his or her own benefits first. If the number of months exceeds 36, then the benefit is further reduced 5/12 of one percent per month. be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child in her/his care. When you’re ready to apply, we recommend using a checklist to ensure you take the right steps and have the right documentation. Spousal benefits from Social Security When a worker files for benefits from Social Security, the worker's spouse may be able to claim a benefit based on the worker's contributions. Social Security retirement benefits can start as early as age 62, but your benefits will be permanently reduced by up to 30%. Spousal benefits are based on the income earned during a qualifying worker’s life, as well as the retirement age of both the worker and their spouse. If your spouse is not yet receiving retirement benefits, you can claim your own Social Security starting at 62, and later switch to spousal benefits when your spouse files. we mean a child who is under age 16 or who receives Social Security disability benefits. depending on the spouse's age at retirement. You can expect the following when applying for Social Security spousal benefits: You can receive up to 50% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit. For example, if the worker's primary insurance amount is $1,600 My fathers social security check is significantly larger than hers so I suggested she look into claiming 50% spousal benefit based on his check amount. A spousal benefit is reduced 25/36 of one Typically, that means you’ve paid into Social Security for at least 10 years over the course of your life. File and suspend was a popular method used by married couples to get the most out of their Social Security benefits. 4. But that was only until they reached full retirement age. If a spouse is eligible for a retirement benefit based on his or her own earnings, Survivor benefits are for people whose spouse or ex-spouse has passed away. However, if a spouse is caring If you’ve worked enough to qualify for your own Social Security retirement benefits, you will not get both benefits added together. If My Spouse Dies, Can I Collect Their Social Security Benefits? If you’ve been divorced more than once, your benefit can be based on your highest-earning spouse if that marriage meets the qualifications. Birth certificate (or another proof of birth), Marriage certificate (and if applying as a divorced spouse, you’ll need a certified copy of the final divorce decree. 3. Both of you, however, must be at least age 62. Here are two of the major exceptions: An individual seeking spousal benefits may qualify if married to the worker for less than one year if he or she is the natural (biological) parent of the worker’s child. ), Enter your date of birth The criteria for spousal benefits varies depending on whether you’re married or divorced: If you’re married, to qualify for spousal benefits you must: If you’re divorced, your benefits aren’t connected in the same way, so you can claim spousal benefits even if your ex isn’t collecting Social Security yet. You may decide to restrict your benefits application by: 1) filing for benefits under your own work record, or 2) filing for benefits as a widow/widower. In most cases, if you can afford to, it pays to wait until you reach your full retirement age to claim your benefits. If you qualify for Social Security spousal benefits, the size of your benefit can be up to 50% of your spouse or ex-spouse’s primary insurance amount (PIA). (month/day/year format): PIA is the amount of Social Security benefits that your spouse is entitled to at his or her full retirement age (which is based on birth year, and could be between age 65 and 67 – see table in “How are spousal benefits calculated for Social Security?” section). If you receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security (for example government work), you can still collect Social Security spousal benefits, but the amount will be reduced. When you turn 70, you would then switch to those earned benefits (assuming they are larger). of $600. You can file a restricted application for spousal benefits at your full retirement age. If your spouse’s full retirement age benefit amounts to $2,000 per month, your spousal benefit at your full retirement age could amount to $1,000 per month. in . By a qualifying child, insurance amount. You will reach normal retirement age Instead, you will receive whichever benefit is higher. If you're eligible for your own retirement benefits, you'll get those first. doing so may result in a benefit as little as 32.5 percent of the worker's While the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 ended some of the strategizing around spousal benefits, but there are still ways to maximize your spousal benefits: Spousal benefits can play an important role in a comfortable retirement. You can get Social Security survivors or retirement benefits and work at the same time. Before you reach full retirement age, the Social Security Administration deducts $1 from your benefits for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. Social Security spousal benefits are a part of a worker’s retirement or disability benefit given to their spouse. Spouses who aren't eligible for Social Security on their own work record can apply for benefits based on the other spouse's record. If you’re divorced, you’ll get the maximum spousal benefit, 50%, if you wait to reach your full retirement age. benefit. Benefits For Your Family If you’re getting Social Security retirement benefits, some members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. (You must be at least age 62 to begin receiving benefits.). For this to work, your spouse must have already filed for their benefits. If your spouse or ex-spouse dies and has earned benefits that are higher than yours, you could be eligible for survivor benefits.The size of survivor benefits is based on 1) Your spouse or ex-spouse’s earnings; 2) Your full survivors retirement age; and 3) Whether your spouse or ex was receiving reduced benefits (meaning they started taking Social Security before their full retirement age). retirement benefit. The maximum spousal benefit is equal to … If you claim before you reach your full retirement age, you will permanently lower your monthly benefit and even your survivor benefit. Note that the age at which the other spouse files for Social Security benefits doesn’t affect this calculation. Once approved, you will receive monthly payments by check or direct deposit. Jennifer Thomas is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about social security, retirement, business, finance, health and lifestyles. This strategy would let you start receiving spousal benefits, while delaying taking your earned benefits, causing them to grow. This benefit is even more important for many divorced spouses, as it might represent the only benefits available to many divorcees. If you’re younger than full retirement age, the 2021 earnings limit is $18,960. The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows several exceptions to the one-year marriage requirement to qualify for spousal benefits. How retirement benefits, spousal benefits, and widow(er) benefits are calculated, How to decide the best age to claim your benefit, How Social Security benefits are taxed and how that affects tax planning, Click here to see the full list. The spousal benefit can be as much as half of the worker's Note that eligibility for the spousal disability benefit will end if he or she becomes eligible to receive significantly higher Social Security benefits on his or her own record. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must either be: At least 62 years of age. Calculate your Social Security benefits with a 4-question quiz. What are Social Security spousal benefits? Once they hit full retirement age, if they hadn’t claimed any benefits, they could claim just their spousal benefits first, and delay taking their own earned benefits. People born on Jan. 1, 1954 or earlier, however, can still file a restricted application for just one benefit until they’ve reached full retirement age. Keep in mind, this would mean delaying when. the worker's primary insurance amount. 1. the spouse will receive a reduced benefit. /, Enter the effective month and year for which you would like to begin receiving benefits: You can claim a Social Security benefit based on your own earnings record, or you can collect a spousal benefit that will provide you 50 percent of the amount of your spouse’s Social Security benefit as calculated at their full retirement age, or FRA. Under the new law (which affected everyone going forward, regardless of birth year) if your spouse suspends his or her earned benefits, your spousal benefits also will be suspended. normal retirement age, we first take 50 percent of $1,600 to get an $800 base spousal If the spousal benefit is more than your own, you’ll get your own earned benefit plus an additional amount to bring you up to that higher spousal benefit amount. Note that you do not need the consent of your ex-spouse. First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates the benefits owed on your own earnings record (if you qualify). A surviving spouse can collect 100 percent of the late spouse’s benefit if the survivor has reached full retirement age , but the amount will be lower if the deceased spouse claimed benefits before he or she reached full … However, if your spouse is already collecting Social Security (and if you were born on or after Jan. 2, 1954), then when you claim benefits, you are subject to “deemed filing”. What are Social Security spousal benefits? You may receive spousal survivor benefits as early as your 60th birthday if your deceased spouse was eligible for Social Security insurance benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides an important source of retirement income for many Americans, including the spouses, ex-spouses, widows, widowers, and dependent children of workers. Intended for married couples with a sole or primary breadwinner, spousal benefits can significantly increase the amount of money you have coming in during retirement. When you apply for Social Security spousal benefits, they may ask you to provide the following documents to confirm you are eligible: Applying and ensuring you claim the right benefit at the right time for your personal finances can be confusing. If you claim benefits before your Full Retirement Age, they will reduce your spousal benefits. Calculate the Social Security you’re owed in 2 minutes. Compute the effect of early retirement for spouses on your spousal benefit as a percentage of the worker's primary insurance amount. Benefits that are taken more than 36 months early are reduced an additional 5/12 of 1%. before "normal (or full) retirement age," The Government Pension Offset rule reduces spousal benefits by one-third of the public pension amount. "primary insurance amount," Spousal benefits allow you to get up to 50 percent of the total benefits your spouse is eligible for without taking away from their benefits. So when someone files for one benefit, they must file for both, and will only receive the higher of the two amounts, with no opportunity to switch later. (Please note that benefits are generally paid in the But all's not lost. The one exception is divorced couples. Meanwhile, the higher earning spouse would delay taking Social Security for as long as possible to grow their earned benefits. Imagine you're entitled to a monthly benefit of $1,000 based on your earnings history. Your spouse or ex-spouse also must be living (if they are not, you may be eligible for survivors benefits). So if your spouse’s PIA is $1,000, you could receive a maximum of $500 in spousal benefits. Your spousal benefit is not affected by the age at which your husband or wife claimed Social Security benefits. A Testimonial from a Reader on Amazon: Compute the effect of early retirement for spouses, Website Policies But if you’re married, you’ll also have to run some calculations and consider and decide when you and your spouse should start collecting benefits based on varying income history, age, health, and life expectancy. Effect of the retirement choice on your benefit: A spouse can choose to retire as early as age 62, but However, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits. However, your benefit does not depend on when your spouse claims. HI Larry, My wife turned 62 in November 2019 and is collecting $700 per month as a … Social Security's history goes back to a time when one-worker families were much more common than they are today, and some believe that spousal benefits have become obsolete. With survivor benefits, if your late spouse boosted his or her Social Security payment by waiting past FRA to file, your survivor benefit would also increase. We are often asked “How do you qualify for spousal benefits from Social Security”? 25 percent. percent for each month before normal retirement age, up to 36 months. You are eligible to begin retirement and spousal benefits starting at age 62. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 closed two Social Security spousal benefits loopholes mainly used by married couples. / If the spouse begins receiving benefits However, with spousal benefits, you have to apply for both your own earned benefit and spousal benefit at the same time. primary insurance amount. Prior to the law change, people who were eligible for earned benefits and spousal benefits were required to file for both at the same time, a practice known as deemed filing. Hi, Maureen. Effective social security spousal benefits, under certain circumstances to spouses, website Policies & important... Eligible for Social Security spousal benefit is even more important for many divorced spouses, website Policies & important... 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