How Spousal Benefits Are Calculated
Spousal benefits are based on how much the other spouse would receive if that person began collecting benefits at the full or “normal” retirement age.
The Social Security Administration has an online calculator that can show you what percentage of your spouse’s benefits you will be eligible for depending on your own age when you start receiving benefits.
The short answer to the calculation is this: You’re eligible for half of your spouse’s benefit amount as long as you wait until your full retirement age to apply. The earlier you file, the less you’ll get.
What Does It Take To Qualify For Social Security Spousal Benefits
Unlike most rules related to Social Security, the rules for the spousal benefit entitlement are pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
If youve been married to your current spouse for at least one year, youre eligible for a spousal benefit under their work record.
Pretty simple, right?
You may also qualify for the spousal benefit If youre divorced but the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and youre not currently married.
Can I Collect Half Of My Spouse’s Social Security At 62
Not quite. The percentage of your spouse’s Social Security that you receive starts at 32.5% at age 62 and steps up gradually to 50% at your full retirement age, 66 or 67, depending on your year of birth. The amount is based on your spouse’s benefit at full retirement age.
The important point is this: Don’t bother delaying past your full retirement age. The amount you receive won’t grow beyond that age.
When Does A Spouse Qualify For Dependent Benefits
- Must be married to the insured worker for one continuous year before the worker filed for disability benefits OR must be the mother or father of the insured workers biological son or daughter AND
- Must be 62 or older or
- Have a child in care under 16 or a disabled child over 16 that is entitled to benefits on the workers Social Security record. When the child reaches age 16, the childs benefits continue, but the spouses benefits stop unless he or she is old enough to receive retirement benefits or survivor benefits as a widow or widower .
How Do Spousal Ssdi Benefits Work
Spouses of SSDI recipients can receive up to 50% of their husbands or wifes disability benefits if applied for at full retirement age or if the spouse is caring for the disabled persons child.
Keep in mind, SSDI spousal benefits could be reduced if certain requirements are not met. We will explain those in more detail in an upcoming section.
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Are Social Security Spousal Benefits Loopholes Still Open
If you receive Social Security benefits, your spouse might also be eligible for benefits. Even if your spouse does not have their own earnings record, they can receive retirement benefits based on your work history. In some cases, your spouse might be able to maximize their benefit by exploring some loopholes surrounding the spousal benefit rules.
However, the Social Security Administration has recently closed many loopholes that people were accustomed to taking advantage of. That doesnt mean that you dont still have a few options. Keep reading as we give you all the details on the spousal benefits loopholes and tell you which ones are still open.
Eligibility For Ssdi Spousal Benefits
Some requirements must be followed if a spouse wishes to qualify for SSDI spousal benefits. The person expecting to receive compensation must be a spouse to the Social Security disability insurance recipient for a complete year. The spouse should not be collecting Social Security disability on their own
Additionally, if the spouse is looking after a child who is under the age of 16 or a child that is disabled, they may be eligible for the compensation. However, note that the child must be related to the retired or disabled recipient receiving SSDI benefits.
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Benefits For Your Children
When you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, your children may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. Your eligible child can be your biological child, adopted child, or stepchild. A dependent grandchild may also qualify.
To receive benefits, the child must:
- Be under age 18 or
- Be 18-19 years old and a full-time student or
Strategy For Married Couples
The best way for married couples to maximize their monthly benefits depends on the earnings history of each spouse. Since the Social Security filing rules for spousal benefits have changed recently, the strategy you use today is likely different from what you may have done a few years ago. If the earnings history of both spouses is relatively equal, it is generally wise for both spouses to wait as long as possible to start their benefits. This allows both spouses to accrue delayed retirement credits and increase their monthly benefit amount.
If one spouse earned significantly more money than the other or if one spouse did not work, then the best idea is for the primary earner to wait until age 70 to claim benefits. This will max out their own retirement benefits and lead to the highest possible payment. Although the spousal benefit maxes out when the spouse reaches full retirement age, this is still the best option for a married couple with a primary earner.
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Benefits For Your Divorced Spouse
If you are divorced, even if you have remarried, your ex-spouse may qualify for benefits on your record.
To qualify on your record, your ex-spouse must:
- Have been married to you for at least 10 years.
- Be at least 62 years old.
- Not be eligible for an equal or higher benefit on their own Social Security record, or on someone else’s Social Security record.
Can Spouses Of Social Security Disability Recipients Also Receive Benefits
Posted on: May 12, 2022
Yes, if you are collecting Social Security Disability Insurance , your spouse can receive a benefit based on these requirements:
- You have been married for at least one year
- Your spouse is 62 or older
- Your spouse is caring for your child who is under 16 or is disabled and entitled to benefits
The Bottom Line On Spousal Benefits
Spousal benefits can boost your Social Security if your spouse earns significantly more than you. However, if youre employed for most of your working years, you may still qualify for a bigger benefit on your own. If youre wondering how much youd qualify for on your own record or your spouses, you can create a my Social Security account to estimate your benefits and kickstart your retirement planning.
Loophole #1 File & Suspend
This loophole involves the higher-earning spouse filing for benefits upon reaching full retirement age but immediately suspending those benefits and allowing the payment to grow by accruing delayed retirement credits. This means that the primary earner will receive a much higher payment when they finally start receiving their benefits usually at age 70. In the meantime, the lower-earning spouse can receive benefits based on the earnings record of their spouse. These spousal benefits are typically higher than the lower-earning spouse would receive based on their own work record.
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How Can My Spouse And I Meet The Eligibility Requirements For Ssdi
As long as you both can prove you suffer an impairment that prevents you from working and you meet the work credit requirements for SSDI you can both receive benefits. The SSA reviews your qualifying criteria on their own merits. Your spouses impairment, income, or other factors do not affect your application.
Because of the nature of the program, the SSA requires you to work long enough to earn a certain number of work credits based on your age. Both you and your spouse will need to have sufficient individual work histories to qualify for SSDI benefits.
If you or your spouse are still doing some work, it must be under the substantial gainful activity limit. If neither of you can workor you work in only an extremely limited capacityyou should meet this requirement. Since your SGA does not include income not earned through working, you may qualify for disability even if you have additional household income from investments, retirement, or other sources.
Divorced Spouse’s Survivors Benefit
If the disabled worker dies but was receiving SSDI benefits when he died, a divorced spouse is entitled to benefits in either of the following circumstances:
- The surviving divorced spouse is 60 years old or older.
- The surviving divorced spouse is disabled and between 50 and 60.
If a surviving divorced spouse gets remarried before age 60, however, Social Security benefits will be denied . If the surviving divorced spouse gets divorced after age 60 , the Social Security Administration will ignore the marriage.
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Question Of The Month: My Wife Is Collecting Social Security Disability Can She Apply For Spousal Benefits On My Work Record
If your wife is at least 62 years old, she can apply for spousal benefits. However, it wont actually increase her income unless her spousal benefits exceed her Social Security Disability benefit amount. You have to choose either the spousal benefit or the Social Security Disability benefityou cannot receive both. But you will receive the larger amount of the two benefits.
Loophole #2 Restricted Application
You might also hear this loophole called a deemed filing. This loophole essentially allowed you to collect some benefits now and collect more benefits later. Using this strategy, a spouse could file for spousal benefits upon reaching full retirement age. However, they would restrict their Social Security application to claiming only the spousal benefits. Doing this would accrue delayed retirement credits on their own benefits. Upon reaching age 70 , they would switch from spousal benefits to their own retirement benefit. This allowed the person to receive spousal benefits upon reaching retirement age and then switch to a higher benefit once their own benefit had maxed out in value.
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Strategies For Maximizing Spousal Benefits
Every married couple has to figure out the best way to maximize their benefits depending on their own circumstances.
The three strategies below will help you make the most of your Social Security spousal benefits, depending on your circumstances. However, keep in mind that, regardless of your circumstances, the most a spouse can get is 50% of the amount that the higher-earning partner is entitled to at full retirement age.
Social Security Spousal Benefits Loopholes
So, what loopholes exist when it comes toSocial Security spousal benefits? There are two significant loopholes you will hear people reference, and we will give you all the details on both. First, you need to understand the basics of how Social Security retirement benefits work to understand the loopholes. You likely already know that your Social Security benefits are calculated using your lifetime earnings record.
You should also know that you will receive 100% of your benefit amount if you start your benefits at full retirement age. Waiting past retirement age to start your benefits can increase your benefit amount because it allows you to accrue delayed retirement credits. This is an important key to fully understanding how these loopholes work. A spouse can also receive up to 50% of the primary beneficiarys benefit amount as a spousal benefit. Now that you have a basic understanding of the process, here are the details of the loopholes.
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If An Insured Worker Becomes Disabled Or Dies While Collecting Social Security Disability Benefits A Spouse Or Divorced Spouse Can Receive Benefits If The Spouse Cares For At Least One Child Of The Disabled Worker Who Is Under Age 16 Or Over 16 And Disabled
If the disabled child is over age 22, they must have become disabled before age 22. These benefits are called mothers or fathers benefits. If the spouse continues to care for a disabled child after age 16, the spouse may still receive benefits, but the spouse must explain to Social Security that they have parental responsibility for the child to continue benefits. The ten-year marriage requirement does not apply to divorced spouses for mothers or fathers benefits.
Claiming Early Or Late
Your spousal benefit is based upon your partner’s “normal” benefit amount. But the amount you receive will depend upon when you begin to claim it.
You can claim spousal benefits as early as age 62, but you won’t receive as much as if you wait until your own full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 67 and you choose to claim spousal benefits at 62, you’d receive a benefit that’s equal to 32.5% of your spouse’s full benefit amount.
The amount increases with each year you delay. At your full retirement age you’d be eligible for the maximum, which is 50% of your spouse’s full benefit.
Notably, spousal benefits are not reduced if the spouse is caring for a child who qualifies under the age or disability rules. Spousal benefits can never exceed 50% of the other spouses full benefit. So, there is no incentive to file for spousal benefits later than your own full retirement age.
An ex-spouse may be eligible for spousal benefits even if the former spouse hasn’t retired yet.
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What Amount Will You Get As Per The Social Security Disability
The maximum amount that a family of a disabled worker can attain varies from 150% to 180% of the advantages the worker is getting. The Social Security Administration will determine all the medical conditions of the worker and will do careful screening whether the worker is suffering from an extreme disability or not.
If the worker is suffering from a serious disability, then the Social Security Disability will be automatically given. You will have to wait nearly 5 months after which you will be getting the benefits after they are approved by Social Security.
If your Spouses disability benefits have been approved and you want to know how to attain them then seek guidance from a Disability Attorney.
Have any Questions?
When The Social Security Act Was First Created In 1935 Benefits Were Approved Only For Insured Workers With Disabilities
When it became obvious that a disabled worker who served as the main provider for a family needed more money to support a spouse and children than a single insured worker, auxiliary or secondary benefits were instituted. First, dependent wives and children were added as beneficiaries and later dependent parents and male spouses. In 1975, the United States Supreme Court held in Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld that a gender-based distinction in the Social Security Act that allowed widows but not widowers to collect special benefits while caring for children was a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It wasnt until 1983 that gender-based distinctions in Social Security programs were eliminated. Today, men and women share the breadwinner role and responsibilities of raising children equally and may be eligible for Social Security auxiliary benefits.
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Benefits For Your Spouse
Benefits are payable to your spouse:
- Age 62 or older, unless your spouse collects a higher Social Security benefit based on their earnings record. The benefit amount for your spouse is permanently reduced by a percentage, based on the number of months up to their full retirement age.
At any age if they are caring for your child under age 16 or who was disabled before age 22, and is entitled to benefits.
Ssdi Benefits For Spouses
A spouse of an individual receiving SSDI benefits is also eligible for disability payments benefits in some situations. A husband or wife would qualify if one of these circumstances is met:
- He is 62 years old or older.
- He is caring for their dependent child who is under 16 years old.
- He is caring for their disabled child no matter what the childs age is.
Once a spouse turns 62 years old, he is not eligible unless he is old enough to receive retirement or survivor benefits. If the husband or wife is eligible for Social Security benefits based on his own record, that amount would be paid to him first.
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Claiming Spousal Benefits From Social Security: How It Works
When a worker files for benefits from Social Security, the workers spouse may be able to claim a benefit based on the workers contributions. For spouses to receive the benefit, they must be at least age 62 or care for a child under age 16 . In addition, spouses cannot claim the spousal benefit until the worker files for her or his benefit.
There are other important caveats about the spousal benefit as well.
Calculating Social Security Benefits For Spouse
One of the main factors involved in determining a secondary beneficiaries social security benefits is retirement age. If a spouse waits until his or her full retirement, he or she may be eligible for a maximum spousal benefit. Full retirement age varies between 65 and 67 years of age, depending on ones year of birth.
For those born after 1960, the full retirement age is 67. Although some spouses choose to claim their spousal benefits as soon as possible, this can significantly reduce the maximum amount which you would otherwise be entitled to. The amount of the spousal benefits is reduced, as per the remaining months till full retirement age.
In other words, the percentage increases toward the maximum spousal benefit of 50% as full retirement age approaches.
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