Calculating Social Security Spousal Benefits
Spousal benefits are based on your spouses primary insurance amount, which is the amount theyre eligible for at full retirement age . Depending on how old you are when you start Social Security, you can receive 32.5% to 50% of your spouses benefit.
If you wait until your full retirement age which is 67 if you were born in 1960 or later youll qualify for the 50% maximum. But if you claim as soon as youre eligible at 62, youd only receive 32.5% of their full benefit.
When you take your own retirement benefits, you can earn 8% delayed retirement credits for each year you wait past your full retirement age until you reach your benefit cap at age 70. However, you cant earn delayed retirement credits when youre taking spousal benefits. Youll receive your maximum benefit once you reach full retirement age.
You also wont earn extra if your spouse waits past their full retirement age. The rules are different for surviving spouses, as well discuss shortly.
If you take spousal benefits, you wont affect the benefits your husband or wife receives. Their benefit is based solely on their primary insurance amount and when they claim.
If You Retire Early Could You Potentially Run Out Of Money
While you won’t run out of Social Security benefits , you could exhaust your 401 or other retirement savings. However, you can help prevent that by being conservative with your withdrawal rate if you retire early, Tierney said.
She recommends regularly monitoring your spending and 401 withdrawal rate so you don’t outlive your assets. Forgoing an annual spending increase or reducing spending — especially when the market is down or inflation is high, like we’re experiencing now — can help avoid depleting your retirement savings.
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.
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Can I Take My Husband’s Social Security Instead Of Mine
Asked by: Prof. Brandt Kub II
As a spouse, you can claim a Social Security benefit based on your own earnings record, or collect a spousal benefit in the amount of 50% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit, but not both. You are automatically entitled to receive whichever benefit provides you the higher monthly amount.
Collecting Social Security Spousal Benefits
Spousal benefits are Social Security benefits that are based on your spouses work record instead of your own. In some circumstances, youre eligible for spousal benefits even if youve divorced.
Your Social Security retirement benefit is typically based on your 35 highest-earning years of work. But, if your spouse earned significantly more or your work history is limited, you may get more money from spousal benefits. Read on to learn when you qualify for spousal benefits and how Social Security calculates your payments.
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More Than Just Income: The Social Security Spousal Benefit And Medicare Coverage
If you are eligible for a Social Security spousal benefit, you are also entitled to premium free part A Medicare at age 65. The catch?
Youre entitled to Medicare only if your spouse is at least 62 years old.
If you are more than 3 years older than your spouse, you may have to buy Medicare Part A until your spouse turns 62. Thats when your premium-free benefit would start. The Part A monthly premium is $422 in 2018.
Can Both Spouses Collect Social Security At The Same Time
Both spouses in a married couple can get full Social Security benefits, at the same time. Married couples get two separate Social Security checks, and there is no “marriage penalty” for Social Security benefits. The maximum Social Security benefit for an individual is $3,345, so the maximum Social Security benefits for a married couple is $6,690, but very few people get benefits anywhere close to the maximum.
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Who Is Entitled To Survivors Benefits From Social Security
How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies SSA.gov/benefits/survivors
Social Security is a key source of financial security to widowed spouses. About 7.8 million individuals aged 60 and older receive Social Security benefits based, at least in part, on a deceased spouses work record. These surviving spouse beneficiaries are overwhelmingly women.
These beneficiaries include 3.6 million people who are eligible only as widowed spouses. Another 4.2 million who are entitled to benefits based on their own work records but whose deceased spouses benefit amounts were higher than their own, will receive higher benefits as individuals .
When You Were Born Affects Benefit Eligibility
Another consideration when claiming an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits is your date of birth:
- If you were born before January 2, 1954, and have already reached full retirement age, you can decide to claim only the divorced spouse’s benefit and put off claiming your own retirement benefits.
- If you were born on or after January 2, 1954, the option to take only one benefit at full retirement age is gone. Therefore, when your ex-spouse files for one benefit, they’re really filing for all of their own benefits and spousal benefits.
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A Comprehensive Guide To Social Security After Divorce
Social Security can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure of what benefits you qualify for as … a divorced individual.
Since Social Security benefits can make a big difference in your cash flow and income taxes in retirement, it is worthwhile to understand how this important benefit works. If you are divorced after being married at least 10 years, you can claim social security benefits on your ex-spouses work record. If youve been married less than 10 years, you cannot claim any social security based on your ex-spouses work history so its critical you dont finalize a divorce after 9 years of marriage without seriously thinking through the consequences.
Before jumping into the nitty gritty, lets cover the key highlights:
How do I qualify as an ex-spouse?
What if Ive been married and divorced more than once?
How Much Do Widowed Spouses Receive
Social Security survivors benefits are especially important to women , because wives tend to earn less than their husbands, and they also typically outlive their husbands. When a retired worker dies, the surviving spouse receives a benefit equal to the deceased workers full retirement benefit.
Depending on the widows or widowers circumstances, however, this benefit may substantially reduce her monthly household income because only one Social Security benefit is now arriving , not the two benefits that the couple received before the spouses death. Women who had worked and earned their own Social Security benefits, in particular, may find themselves struggling to meet the rising fixed expenses that come with aging.
For more information on Social Security and survivor benefits, please visit the Social Security Administration at ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/.
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Three Key Ways To Maximize Your Spousal Benefits
If you’re eligible for Social Security spousal benefits, how much you’ll receive depends on a number of factors, including your age, the amount of your spouse’s benefit, and whether you have other retirement benefits available to you. Who’s eligible? Anyone whose spouse, ex-spouse, or deceased spouse was or is eligible for benefits, once you have reached the age of eligibility, is eligible.
The maximum amount you can receive is 50% of your spouse’s full benefit. That’s straightforward enough, but the precise amount you’ll get and when you’ll get it depends on several circumstances, including your spouse’s age and work history, your own age and work history, and more. That leaves some room for you to maximize the amount you receive. And, remember, if that amount is less than the amount you’d get based on your own work history, you’ll automatically get the higher amount.
Below, you’ll find out if you qualify for Social Security spousal benefits and how to find out the amount you’ll get. And, you’ll learn the fate of a couple of once-popular spousal benefits loopholes in the Social Security rules. Nevertheless, if you know the rules highlighted in this article, you’ll be able to maximize your Social Security spousal benefits.
Chapter : How To Apply For Survivor Benefits
A widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse cannot apply online for survivors benefits. You must call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 Alternatively, you can go in person to your local Social Security field office.
To apply for Social Security survivor benefits, you must have the following documents:
- Both your own Social Security number and that of the deceased worker
- Your birth certificate
- Your marriage certificate
- Your divorce certificate
- Dependent childrens Social Security numbers, if available, and birth certificates
Did you Know?
Unlike other Social Security benefits, you cannot apply for survivors benefits online. You must call the SSA or go in person to your local Social Security field office.
Applying and ensuring you claim the right benefit at the right time for your personal finances can be confusing. When youre ready to apply, we recommend using a checklist to ensure you take the right steps and have the right documentation.
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How Much Will My Spouse Receive
If your spouse qualifies for benefits on their own record, we will pay that amount first. If the benefit on your record is higher, they will get an additional amount on your record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount.
If they begin receiving benefits:
If your spouse will receive a pension for work not covered by Social Security such as government employment, the amount of their Social Security benefits on your record may be reduced.
at any age
Benefits paid to your spouse will not decrease your retirement benefit. In fact, the value of the benefits they may receive, added to your own, may help you decide if taking your benefits sooner may be more advantageous.
Can A Husband And Wife Both Receive Ssdi At The Same Time
SSDI is the easiest program under which both spouses may receive benefits. That is because the program is not based on need. Instead, you only need to fall below the SSAs monthly income limit$1,170 for 2017and meet the programs medical requirements to qualify. In other words, no matter how much money your spouse makes, you can receive SSDI benefits as long as you have a disabling medical condition and a sufficient work history.
The same is true if your spouse receives SSDI income. If you qualify for SSDI, then it does not matter that your spouse receives benefits for his or her own disability. The SSA would approve or deny both of your applications on their own merits.
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Should You Wait Until You’re Older To Get A Bigger Payout Or Retire Early With A Smaller Payout
“Social Security can act as insurance against living longer than you anticipate, and it provides some inflation protection since your benefit is adjusted for cost-of-living increases,” Tierney said. “The longer you or your spouse expect to live, the more it may make sense to wait to claim your Social Security benefit.”
But just because you decide to wait to claim your benefits doesn’t mean you have to delay your retirement, she explained. However, you should make sure you’ve got income coming in from your 401 or other investments so you can afford your living expenses if you delay claiming your benefit.
However, if you’re solely relying on Social Security benefits to pay for your expenses in retirement, waiting to retire and claiming your benefits at a later date could be a better choice. You’ll receive more money each month and you’ll have more time to save for retirement.
Also, if you choose to retire early, your benefits will be reduced for each month before full retirement age. For instance, if you were born in 1960 or later and retire at age 62 with a retirement benefit of $1,000 per month, your payment would be reduced to $700 .
On the plus side, that’s still $700 you would otherwise not receive during that time if you didn’t draw your Social Security benefits. So you might benefit from collecting payments over a longer period of time.
Is it possible to run out of money after retiring early?
Examples Of Deemed Filing Rules
Example 1: Maria turns age 62 after January 1, 2016. Her husband, Joe, is 65. They have each worked enough years to earn a retirement benefit. In March of 2020, Maria has reached her full retirement age and files for benefits. Maria is eligible for a spousal benefit on Joes record. Maria must file for both benefits. She can no longer file only for the spousal benefit and delay filing for her own retirement. She will receive a combination of the two benefits that equals the higher amount.
Example 2: Jennie is a 62-year-old widow. She is eligible for retirement benefits based on her work history, and she is also eligible for survivor benefits based on her deceased husbands record. She starts her survivor benefit this year and only applies for widows benefits. She does not start her own retirement benefit, allowing it to grow. At age 70, she starts her own increased retirement benefit, which she will receive for the rest of her life. The new law does not affect her because deemed filing does not apply to widows and widowers. Jennie will receive the higher of the two benefits
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How Can I Switch From My Social Security Benefit To A Spousal Benefit
You can only switch from your benefit to the spousal benefit if your spouse has begun receiving retirement benefits and you are at least 62 years old .You can claim your benefit based on your work history until your spouse files, and then you can switch to the spousal benefit. However, if you’re not at your full retirement age, you’ll get paid a reduced spousal benefit, which can be as low as 32.5% of your spouse’s primary insurance amount.
To monitor your benefits or change them, you can create an account on the Social Security site. It contains a wealth of information, and it allows you to make some changes online, although others require a phone call.
Is Social Security Based On The Last 5 Years Of Work
A: Your Social Security payment is based on your best 35 years of work. And, whether we like it or not, if you don’t have 35 years of work, the Social Security Administration still uses 35 years and posts zeros for the missing years, says Andy Landis, author of Social Security: The Inside Story, 2016 Edition.
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If I Claim Early Retirement Benefits Do My Spouse’s Benefits Get Penalized
No, your claiming early retirement benefits does not reduce the amount of your spouse’s spousal benefits or your child’s dependents benefit amount that they can collect on your work record. Your claiming early retirement benefits will reduce your retirement benefits or your spousal retirement benefits based on your spouse’s work record.
But, your collecting early retirement benefits does reduce the eventual survivors benefit that your spouse could collect based on your work record, if you die before your spouse.
Note well, though: your claiming early retirement benefits doesn’t affect the amount of the survivors benefits you can collect based on your spouse’s work record, if your spouse dies before you.
What Are The Spousal Rules For The Ssi Program
SSI, because it is need-based and has income limits, has different rules when it comes to two spouses who are both disabled. It is technically possible for both spouses to receive SSI. However, the income guidelines make it difficult for both to qualify.
Each applicant is subject to an income limit and part of the money their spouse earns counts toward that limit. This is true even if the spouses only source of income is SSI.
The math can be a little bit complex. Confounding the issue further is the fact that the program allows for certain income exclusions and expense deductions when calculating your total monthly income. Our lawyers can evaluate your household finances and advise you on how to maximize benefits between you and your spouse.