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What About Spousal Benefits for Social Security?

What About Spousal Benefits for Social Security?

When trying to figure out Spousal benefits for Social Security it is a virtual minefield of rules so let’s dive in and make sure that you follow all of the guidelines.

Typically a spouse is entitled to their own Social Security based on their work history, or 50% of their spouses’ Social Security at their full retirement age, whichever is HIGHER.  If they wait until their full retirement age then they are entitled to their full retirement amount, or PIA.


What If I’m divorced do I still Receive Spousal Benefits?

If you’ve been married more than once, then guess what.. you can choose the highest spousal benefit among your ex spouses.  Here’s another benefit that you receive that married couples don’t..you can file for spousal benefits even if your ex hasn’t filed yet. And your ex-spouse doesn’t need to know that you are filing on their benefit so you don’t need their Social Security number to file.

If you are divorced you may be able to receive 50% of your spouse’s earnings if:

  • You have been married at least 10 years.
  • You are still unmarried, or remarried after age 60.
  • Both you or your ex-spouse must be at least 62 or older.
  • Your ex-spouse it entitled to receive Social Security or disability benefits.
  • If you remarry then you cannot receive your former spouse’s earnings unless your later marriageends by divorce death or annulment, or if you over the age of 60.
  • The spousal benefit is more than your own benefits.
  • Any delayed credits that your ex spouse may have earned will not apply to yours.

Here’s another twist:  If you were born before January 2, 1954 and have already received retirement age you can take 50% of the divorced spouse’s benefit and allow yours to continue to grow.  See article on Can You Still File a Restricted Application?


Can I Claim My Spousal Benefits Early?

Yes you can but it will be at a reduced amount, depending on your age when you filed a benefit can be reduced by as much as 30%, so unless you really need it, it may be better to wait until full retirement age.

If My Spouse Claims Early will it Reduce My Spousal Benefit? Let’s say your husband filed for benefits early at age 62, and you have decided to wait until full retirement age to claim benefits.  You are still entitled to half off the spousal benefits from what his full retirement amount would have been not his reduced amount.

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