How spousal social security benefits work

Many seniors rely on Social Security to cover their living expenses once they are no longer working. And while these perks don’t replace your entire old paycheck, they can, depending on when you deposit them, replace a good chunk of it.

But what if you don’t have an old paycheck to replace? The good news is that even if you’ve never had a job, you may still be eligible for Social Security income. As long as you are married to someone who is entitled to benefits or you are divorced from an eligible beneficiary, you can receive spousal benefits based on the work file of your partner or ex-partner.

That said, if you’ve been working and entitled to a personal benefit, you can’t just double down and get both benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

How spousal benefits work when you have an income statement yourself

If you have never worked and are dependent on spousal benefits during retirement, you will be eligible to receive 50% of your spouse’s or ex-spouse’s benefit – provided you report to full retirement age. This means that if you are married and your spouse receives a monthly benefit of $ 1,800, you are entitled to $ 900 per month if you wait until your retirement age to register for Social Security.

That said, if you have your own income history, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay you the greater of your own benefits or 50% of your spouse’s benefits. In other words, if you had a lower income and you are only entitled to a Social Security benefit of $ 850 per month, you will be increased up to $ 900 per month through Spousal Benefits once. that your current spouse will have submitted their file.

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On the other hand, if you are entitled to a monthly benefit of $ 1,000 based on your own income record, you will not want a spousal benefit and the SSA will not require you to take one. Instead, you will simply receive the highest amount you are entitled to. However, you won’t get your $ 1000 per month more $ 900 per month in spousal benefits.

Another thing you should know is that if you are still married, you cannot receive spousal benefits until your spouse applies for Social Security. In this situation, if you are entitled to your own benefits, you may want to apply for your own benefits and collect them until you are eligible for spousal benefits. In fact, it might be a good strategy if your partner dilatory its deposit for a higher monthly benefit in return.

Speaking of deferral of benefits, while you can increase your own benefit while you wait to file it, you cannot increase a spousal benefit. If your spouse is already receiving Social Security income by the time you reach full retirement age, it pays to deposit and collect your spousal benefits immediately.

Know the rules

Social Security is a complex program, and when you are married there are a lot of rules to know. Keep read about social security – not just alone, but with your spouse. This way, you will put yourself in the best position to maximize the income to which you are entitled.

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