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 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. The Social Security Now and Later Spousal Benefit Strategy, How to Get a Larger Amount of Social Security Benefits, Here Is How You Can Calculate Your Projected Social Security Benefit. How Do Social Security Survivor Benefits Differ From Spousal Benefits? To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must either be: At least 62 years of age. The one exception is divorced couples. Marguerita is a Certified Financial Planner® who helps people meet their life goals through the proper management of financial resources. If you were born any later than Jan. 1, 1954, this option is no longer available.. The benefit can be up to 100% of what your spouse would have received at full retirement. Taking a spousal benefit does not reduce or change the amount your current spouse, ex-spouse, or ex-spouse's current spouse may receive. First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates the benefits owed on your own earnings record (if you qualify).  Typically, that means you’ve paid into Social Security for at least 10 years over the course of your life. Social Security Administration. (Check the Social Security website to determine your FRA, as it depends on your year of birth.) "Benefits for Your Family." In addition, a surviving spouse living in the same household is eligible to receive a one-time lump-sum payment of $255. Who is eligible for spousal benefits from Social Security? Social Security is much broader than just the benefits provided to retired workers. 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. If your spouse and/or you are considering taking Social Security benefits early, consider the long-term effects carefully. Consider these often surprising facts about the lesser-known social security spousal benefit program. You can receive a spousal benefit even if your ex-spouse has not yet filed for his or her own benefits, but your ex-spouse must be age 62 or older.. This strategy would let you start receiving spousal benefits, while delaying taking your earned benefits, causing them to grow. If both spouses work, the total amount of S… However, with spousal benefits, you have to apply for both your own earned benefit and spousal benefit at the same time. 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. Your spouse may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits on your record. 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). 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 might do this if your own benefit amount at age 70 would be larger than your widow benefit. Keep in mind, this would mean delaying whenÂ. File and suspend was a popular method used by married couples to get the most out of their Social Security benefits. (Note: there is an exception to this rule for spousal benefits – see the loophole directly below). 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). This is only an example, and the actual reduction rates are subject to change, so again, contact your local office to get complete information. 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. Calculate your Social Security benefits with a 4-question quiz. Social Security spousal benefits are partial retirement or disability benefits granted to the spouses of qualifying taxpayers. To claim a spousal benefit based on an ex-spouse's earnings record, your ex-spouse has to be 62 and eligible for benefits, but there is no requirement that they must have already filed for benefits. That benefit is based on the Social Security benefit the worker was receiving (or would have received). Different rules apply to ex-spouses. Once you and your spouse start receiving Social Security benefits, upon the death of your spouse, you will continue to receive your benefit, or your spouse’s, but not both. When can a spouse claim spousal benefits? 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. Note that you do not need the consent of your ex-spouse. There comes a point where the spousal benefit gets reduced by 50 percent. Social Security Changes—Will They Affect You? 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. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 closed two Social Security spousal benefits loopholes mainly used by married couples. If you're eligible for your own retirement benefits, you'll get those first. If you are married or divorced and nearing retirement age, you may be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits. If someone claims the spousal benefit immediately at age 62, and for the purposes of this discussion receive $500 a month in benefits, once they reach age 66 or 67 their benefit will be reduced to $250. The Government Pension Offset rule reduces spousal benefits by one-third of the public pension amount. Current spouses and ex-spouses (if you were married for over 10 years and have not remarried) both have eligibility for the spousal benefit. 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