Sunday, August 14, 2022

Am I Eligible For Spousal Social Security Benefits

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How Much Money Can You Get

Married or divorce eligible for SAME social security spousal benefits #socialsecurity #divorce

The maximum amount of benefits you can claim is 50% of your spouse’s benefit.

As of 2019, someone retiring at age 66 or 67 could potentially receive a maximum Social Security benefit of $2,861 per month. Additionally, early retirement at 62 would receive maximum monthly benefits of around $2,209, while delayed retirement at 70 would receive maximum monthly benefits of around $3,770. Given that the maximum spousal benefits you can receive are 50% of your spouse’s, you would receive half the monthly benefits.

The maximum amount of benefits that a person may receive once they reach FRA is called the primary insurance amount – whereby the person filing for benefits will neither have them reduced or increased for early or late claims.

However, the amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive changes based on your age and if you are claiming late or early retirement benefits. But, what are the parameters for early claims?

Changes To Social Security Law

Some changes to the law in recent years have affected how you can collect spousal benefits. If you were born on or before Jan. 1, 1954, you may still be eligible to use a benefits-claiming strategy known as a “restricted application” to increase your benefits.

Younger recipients won’t be able to use this strategy, which was ended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

Amount Of Spousal Benefit

Your spouse is entitled to up to 50% of your monthly benefit amount, subject to a family maximum amount.

If your spouse has his or her own qualifying earnings record with Social Security, the SSA will pay that benefit amount first. However, if the amount that your spouse is entitled to based on your record is higher, the SSA will combine the benefits to make sure that your spouse receives the higher amount.

If your spouse begins to collect the spouse’s benefit between age 62 and his or her full retirement age, the monthly benefit amount will be permanently reduced. The Social Security Administration calculates the reduction amount using a formula based on the number of months from when benefits began until full retirement age.

Also Check: When Does Social Security Update Earnings Record For 2018

When A Family Member Dies

We should be notified as soon as possible when a person dies. However, you cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online.

If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 . You can speak to a Social Security representative between 8:00 am 5:30 pm. Monday through Friday. You can also visit your local Social Security office. An appointment is not required, but if you call ahead and schedule one, it may reduce the time you spend waiting to speak to someone.

Im Divorced From My Spouse Can I Still Collect Benefits Based On His/her Record

Are You Eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Surviving Spouse?

Even when youre divorced, you may still be eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouses work record if you meet all of these requirements:

  • Your marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • Youre at least 62 years old.
  • Youre not married.
  • Youre not eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your own work record in an amount that is higher than or equal to your ex-spouses benefit.

Receiving benefits based on your ex-spouses Social Security Disability benefit will not affect the benefit that other dependents, such as a current spouse and children, are entitled to.

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What If You Live Abroad

Most U.S. citizens who live in foreign countries after they retire can receive Social Security benefits. However, the U.S. government will not send Social Security payments to those living in Cuba or North Korea. Additionally, Americans living in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan must qualify for an exception in order to receive benefits while living abroad.

How Does My Spouse Apply For A Husband Or Wife’s Benefit

Your spouse must contact the SSA to apply for benefits. The SSA’s phone number is 800-772-1213. Your spouse will need his or her Social Security number and birth certificate. The SSA may also require your marriage certificate and information about any prior marriages.

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    Read Also: How Can I Find My Deceased Father’s Social Security Number

    Divorced Know This Significant Exception To The Rule

    When planning your Social Security filing strategy, its important to note that you cannot file for a spousal benefit until the higher earning spouse files for their benefit.

    But this does not apply if your are filing for a spousal benefit from an ex-spouse.

    If your ex-spouse has not applied for retirement benefits you can receive benefits on his or her record if you have been divorced for at least two years and your ex-spouse is at least 62.

    How Earnings Are Calculated For Social Security

    Social Security Ex-Spousal Benefit After Remarriage: Can I get benefits from an ex if I remarry?

    As you make plans for your divorce or retirement, you may ask how social security earnings are calculated how does spousal social security work? First, the Social Security Administration is responsible for all forms of social benefits.

    You need a personal Social Security account according to the Social Security Administration. This account gives you an estimate of your unique retirement benefits and how retirement age affects your earnings.

    The basis of your social security is your lifetime earnings based on your work record throughout your working life.

    That forms the foundation of what the SSA uses to work out social security. Based on this, Social Security adjusts your earnings to reflect historical changes in wages since you started receiving your payments.

    Then, Social Security calculates your average indexed monthly earnings using your best earned 35 years. If your eventual income meets the maximum taxable income, then it is subjected to social security taxes.

    After that, Social Security uses a formula with your monthly average to determine your primary insurance amount . The result is the amount you are entitled to monthly when you reach your full retirement age to claim benefits.

    The full retirement age is currently 66 years and two months, increasing to 67 for people born in 1960 and after. As of 2021, the formula for your average monthly is:

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    The Two Exceptions To Know Around The 1 Year Marriage Requirement

    Normally, you must be married for at least 12 continuous months to meet the spousal benefit duration-of-marriage requirement. However, there are two exceptions to this rule.

    Exception 1

    If you marry someone who is the natural mother or father of your child, the one year requirement is waived.

    Be the natural mother or father of the workers biological son or daughter i.e., this requirement is met if a live child was born to the number-holder and claimant although the child need not be alive.

    Exception 2

    The 1-year requirement is also waived if you were entitled to Social Security benefits on someone elses work record in the month before you were married.

    An example of these benefits would be spousal benefits, survivor benefits or parents benefits.

    For example, lets assume you will be eligible for a spousal benefit from your ex-husband Joe. If you remarry, you wouldnt have to wait the full 12 months to get a spousal benefit from your new spouse. Instead, youd be immediately eligible.

    This topic is closely related to the Social Security Survivor Benefit. Ive written an in-depth but easy-to-understand article titled Social Security Survivor Benefits: The Complete Guide to Who Gets What and How to Calculate It if you want to learn more.

    How Do I Qualify For Social Security Retirement Benefits

    When you work and pay taxes, you earn credits toward Social Security retirement benefits. These credits are based on your annual earnings you can accrue a maximum of four credits per year. Once youve acquired 40 credits , youre fully insured and eligible to receive retirement benefits.

    Your paychecks will withhold Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax until youve earned up to the taxable earnings base for the year.

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    Who Receives Benefits

    Certain family members may be eligible to receive monthly benefits, including:

    • A widow or widower age 60 or older .
    • A surviving divorced spouse, under certain circumstances.
    • A widow or widower at any age who is caring for the deceaseds child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving childs benefits.
    • An unmarried child of the deceased who is one of the following:
    • Younger than age 18 .
    • Age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.

    Can I Collect My Ex

    Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Surviving Spouse?

    Another question frequently asked is, Can I collect social security from my ex-husband if I remarry? The answer to this question varies. If your ex-spouse is still alive, you cant collect social security benefits as a divorced spouse.

    Thats because your new marriage voids your eligibility to your former partners social benefits as long as they are alive.

    If you were applying for spousal social security and suddenly married another person, Social Security will terminate your request. You have to report any changes to your marital status to social security.

    However, If your ex-husband or ex-wife is deceased, you can remarry and continue collecting spouse social security from their earnings record. Remember you must be 60 years or older when you remarry or 50 years or older if you are disabled.

    The following situations can allow you to receive spousal social security the record of a living former spouse if you remarry:

    • You remarried the same person
    • If your new husband is already receiving a type of social security, including survivors benefits, divorced-spouse benefits, and childhood disability benefits.

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    Who Qualifies For Social Security Spousal Benefits

    If your spouse has filed for Social Security benefits, you can also collect benefits based on the spouse’s work record, if:

    • You are at least 62 years old.
    • Regardless of your age, if you care for a child who is entitled to receive benefits on your spouses record, and who is under age 16 or disabled.

    When you apply for spousal benefits, you will also be applying for benefits based on your own work history. If you’re eligible for benefits based on your own earnings, and that benefit amount is higher than your spousal benefit, that’s what you’ll get. If it is lower, you’ll get the spousal benefit.

    How Do I Apply For Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits

    When you contact the SSA to apply for spousal benefits, you will need the following documents:

    • Social Security number
    • Information about any previous marriages

    Its understandable if you have questions about the requirements for spousal benefits. The Robertson Wendy Disability Finkel Law Firm, LLC can help you gather all the information youll need to apply. Well treat you and your family with the care and respect you deserve.

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    Couples Who Have Claimed Benefits

    If you and your spouse had both started claiming, the higher benefit amount becomes your monthly payment. The lower of the two payment amounts will be stopped.

    If your deceased spouse had started getting payments, but you had not, you will have some choices to make about when you claim the survivor benefit. The age at which you begin benefits can provide more or less Social Security income over the course of your lifetime.

    If you are unsure how to get the most out of your survivor payment, talk to a financial advisor. They will be able to suggest when and how to start claiming that income.

    If you got married again after the death of your former spouse before you reach the age of 60 , you can’t get their survivor benefit.

    The Rules Changed In 2015 Here’s What You Need To Know Now

    Social Security Spousal Benefits – Who is Eligible?

      If you have never worked or paid Social Security taxes , you won’t be eligible to claim Social Security retirement benefits on your own account. However, you may be able to receive spousal benefits through your spouse’s account. You can file a claim under their account as early as age 62, as long as your spouse has already filed to collect their own benefits. You will also be able to apply for Medicare health coverage at age 65.

      Also Check: What Happens To Social Security

      Excess Spousal Or Supplemental Spousal Benefit

      Normally a spousal benefit is 50% of the spouse’s FRA benefit amount, reduced if the spouse claiming the spousal benefit is filing for benefits early. If one spouse is already receiving their own benefits, and later becomes eligible for a spousal benefit, there is a formula that is used to determine what amount of spousal benefit they may receive.

      Let’s work through it by expanding upon our example above. The younger spouse claimed at 62. Her primary insurance amount was $800, but because she claimed early she received $600 per month in benefits. The older spouse will claim when he turns 66. His primary insurance amount is $2,100.

      Take the older spouse’s PIA divided by 2, minus the younger spouse’s PIA. $2,100/2 = $1,050 – $800 = $250.

      When her husband files for benefits and she becomes eligible for a spousal benefit, that $250 gets added to what she is currently receiving so her monthly benefit will go from $600 to $850 at that time.

      If she had waited until her own FRA to file benefits, she would have received the full spousal benefit of $1,050, as that would have been higher than her own FRA benefit amount of $800. Of course, she would have had to forgo the first four years of benefits to receive the higher amount. In this particular case, it likely made sense for her to file early.

      Does Social Security Pay Death Benefits

      A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceaseds record.

      If there is no surviving spouse, the payment is made to a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceaseds record in the month of death.

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      ‘file And Suspend’ Has Been Totally Eliminated

      You may also hear or read about another Social Security claiming strategy known as file and suspend. Unfortunately, it is no longer applicable, also due to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Using this strategy, the higher-earning spouse could file for Social Security at full retirement age , but then “suspend” his or her claim and not take benefits until later, while racking up delayed retirement credits in the meantime.

      Minor Or Disabled Child

      Are You Eligible for Social Security Benefits as a Spouse?

      If you are the unmarried child under 18 of a worker who dies, you can be eligible to receive Social Security survivors benefits.

      And you can get benefits at any age if you were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled.

      Besides the worker’s natural children, their stepchildren, grandchildren, step grandchildren, or adopted children may receive benefits under certain circumstances.

      Read Also: What Age Can You Claim Social Security

      How Do I Estimate My Monthly Retirement Benefits

      You can estimate your monthly retirement benefits by calculating your PIA, the monthly benefit youre eligible to receive once you reach your FRA. To determine your PIA, the Social Security Administration uses your best 35 years of employment to arrive at your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings . If you havent worked for 35 years, some of the included earnings may be zero.

      If you continue working after reaching your FRA, the SSA will automatically recalculate your benefits each year you continue to work. If your current income is greater than any of your previously calculated best 35 years, your benefits will be adjusted upward. The increase generally will be made in October of the following year but will be retroactive to January 1.

      Social Security retirement benefits are automatically modified each year for cost-of-living adjustments , which are either positive or zero never negative. COLAs are based on the Consumer Price Index and have averaged between 1% and 2% over the past 10 years.

      For more information, the SSA offers a helpful Social Security retirement calculator.

      What Lowers The Benefits

      If you file between age 60 and your survivor FRA, you will receive between 71.5% and 99% of your late spouses basic payment amount. The amount goes up for each month that you are closer to your FRA.

      If you collect a survivor benefit and you have not yet reached FRA, the amount you get can go down if you are working. This would happen if your income is higher than the earnings limit.

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      How To Apply For Spousal Social Security Benefits

      This article was written by Jennifer Mueller, JD. Jennifer Mueller is an in-house legal expert at wikiHow. Jennifer reviews, fact-checks, and evaluates wikiHow’s legal content to ensure thoroughness and accuracy. She received her JD from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2006.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 26,036 times.

      If you are married or divorced and nearing retirement age, you may be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits. Spousal benefits allow you to get up to 50 percent of the total benefits your spouse is eligible for without taking away from their benefits. If you’re eligible for your own retirement benefits, you’ll get those first. However, if your spouse was in the workforce longer than you or made more money, spousal benefits could add to the overall benefits you receive. You apply for spousal Social Security benefits the same way you claim your own retirement benefits.XResearch source

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