Spouse Benefits In Social Security
The Social Security program allows workers to claim retirement or disability benefits on the basis of their lifetime earnings. For a married couple, the program also offers spouse benefits to an individual who has not accrued enough credits to claim personal Social Security. These benefits max out at 50 percent of the earner’s benefits. For example, if a husband has worked enough to draw $1,000 in monthly benefits, his wife is entitled to $500 a month.
When Can A Survivor Collect Social Security Benefits
According to the SSA, survivors may be able to begin collecting benefits as soon as the month that the beneficiary dies. Its important to apply for the benefits immediately, too, as the SSA points out that some benefits may not be retroactive. So, for example, if you wait for three months, those last three checks could be unable to be claimed.
Request A Deceased Individuals Social Security Record After Divorce
If your ex-husband or wife was married to you for at least 10 years, and you meet certain age and/or disability and other requirements, you may claim survivors benefits from Social Security. How much the ex-spouse earned over a lifetime is essential information to computing your survivors benefits. It doesnt matter if the now-deceased former spouse remarried. You may still apply for Social Security survivors benefits:
- You must be at least 60 years old to apply for a former spouses Social Security survivors benefits. If you remarried after divorcing him or her, you cant request survivors benefits.
- Importantly, if you care for a young child of the marriage, or a disabled child of the marriage, or a child that you and the ex-spouse legally adopted, the age limit may not apply. This circumstance may qualify you as a surviving divorced parent and also affect the amount of Social Security survivors receive on the workers earnings record.
- If youre approved for survivors benefits and you later remarry , the benefits you receive from Social Security can be affected. If you remarry after age 60 and you currently receive widow/widower benefits, these benefits may continue.
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Can A Foreign Spouse Of American Expats Receive Social Security Spousal Benefits
As a general rule, a foreign spouse cannot obtain social security spousal benefits if the both rules are met:
1. Foreign spouse is not a US citizen or green card holder.
2. Foreign spouse has lived outside of the USA for six consecutive months.
However, there are three exceptions to this rule. The country of citizenship and residence as well as the period of US residence play a key role in determining the eligibility for social security spousal benefits.
Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries
You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
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How Your Credit Score Is Affected
While it looks and swipes like a credit card, the Direct Express card is not a credit card. No credit check is necessary to receive the card or to have your benefits deposited to the card each month.
When you make purchases, youre not borrowing money, and theres no balance to repay each month. Your card usage isn’t reported to any of the major credit bureaus, which means that it’s not included in your credit report and won’t impact your credit in any way. You can, however, use the card for paying other monthly bills that may affect your credit.
Ask Larry: When Can I File For Social Security Spousal Benefits
Economic Security Planning, Inc.
Today’s column addresses questions about when it’s possible to file for spousal benefits, who can still file restricted applications for spousal benefits only, divorced spousal benefits after early retirement benefits and eligibility for disability benefits close to full retirement age. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc, which markets Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner.
Have Social Security questions of your own youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.
When Can I File For Social Security Spousal Benefits?
Hi Larry, first thank you for your time! I have read many things about Social Security benefits but I’m still confused. I am married and my husband filed for Social Security retirement benefit after he was 62. He’s 65 now and I’m 60 now. When can I file for spousal benefits? I do not want to file for my retirement benefits until I am 67 to get full benefits. Our earnings are pretty comparable so I’m not sure how much my spousal benefits would be if I can get them. And I’m not sure how you requested spousal benefits and then switch to your benefits later. It all seems so confusing! Please help! I don’t want to file incorrectly. Thanks, Laura
Am I Eligible To Claim Spousal Benefits While I Wait To Claim My Retirement Benefits?
Can My Husband Still Apply For Disability Benefits At Age 65?
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A Brief History Of Social Security
The Great Depression of the 1930s saw more than 25 percent of the U.S. population unemployed amid the failure of thousands of banks and businesses. Most of the country’s elderly were unable to support themselves. These circumstances led to calls for radical changes in the way the U.S. cared for its elderly and ill citizens. The Social Security program, created in 1935 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, derives from the idea of “social insurance,” a doctrine new to America at the time but widely accepted in Europe. In essence, social insurance describes a mandatory public insurance program that protects against economic risks such as the loss of a salary or other income because of age or illness. Workers pay into the program while they are employed and, upon retirement, receive benefits based upon the amount of their contribution.
Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby
The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.
;Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:
- Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
- Open a bank account in their name
- Get medical coverage for them
- Apply for government services for them
Keep your Social Security card in a safe place to protect yourself from identity theft.;
Make Payments To The Federal Government
Learn how to use Pay.gov to make secure, electronic payments to government agencies from your checking or savings account. You can use the online service for VA medical care copayments, U.S. district court tickets, U.S. Coast Guard;merchant mariner user fee payments, and more.
If you need help, contact Pay.gov customer service.;
How To Stop Social Security Check Payments
The SSA can not pay benefits for the month of a recipients death. That means if the person died in July, the check received in August must be returned. Find out how to return a check to the SSA.
If the payment is by direct deposit, notify the financial institution as soon as possible so it can return any payments received after death. For more about the requirement to return benefits for the month of a beneficiarys death, see the top of page 11 of this SSA publication.
Family members may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits when a person getting benefits dies. Visit the SSA’s Survivors Benefits page to learn more.
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What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
What Expat Americans With Foreign Spouses Need To Know About Social Security
This article is for general information purposes only. Please consult with the U.S. Social Security Administration for the most up-to-date information on your situation.
Expat Americans eligible for U.S. Social Security benefits and married to non-U.S. citizens often wonder if their foreign spouses qualify for Social Security survivor benefits . In certain cases, the answer is yes. Additionally, while the U.S. expat is still alive, their foreign spouse may also qualify to receive dependent or spousal Social Security benefits .
The rules governing foreign spousal and survivor benefits are complicated. Weve answered some common questions below to help you determine if your foreign spouse may qualify for either type of benefit. There are many exceptions and qualifications to the rules, however, so be sure to check with the Social Security Administration for specifics on your situation.
As an American citizen living outside the U.S., can I still receive Social Security benefits?
Yes, if you are either a U.S. citizen or green card holder, you can generally receive U.S. Social Security payments if the following are also true:
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What If You Are Divorced
If you were married to the same spouse for 10 years or longer and that person worked enough to qualify for Social Security, you can receive benefits on the ex-spouse’s record. That’s true even if they remarried.
If you remarry, you do not qualify for benefits from the first spouseunless the new marriage ends and you have been divorced for at least two years. If your spouse dies and you remarry after age 60, you can still collect survivor benefits.
Different Rules For Survivor Benefits
The rule about not switching benefits does not apply to Social Security survivor benefits, which divorced spouses may be eligible for if their former partner is deceased. Divorced spouses can file for survivor benefits as early as age 60 and switch over to their own benefit as early as age 62. They also have the option of filing for their own benefit first, as early as age 62, then filing for survivor benefits when they reach their FRA if that will result in a higher benefit.
Divorced spouses who are caring for their deceased spouses natural or legally adopted child who is younger than age 16or disabled and entitled to benefitscan apply at any age. In this case, the rule that the couple must have been married for at least 10 years is also waived. However, the benefits will last only until the child reaches age 16 or is no longer disabled.
Preventing Losses And Fraudulent Activity
It’s important to protect your Social Security debit card like you would any other credit or debit card or even your cash.
Keep your PIN safe, and don’t share it with others. If your Direct Express card is lost or stolen, you should report your missing card immediately by calling the customer service number on the back of the card, so it is wise to copy that number and keep it separate. Direct Express will replace your card so you can continue to access your account. The first replacement card each calendar year is free; after that, theres a $4 fee to replace a missing card. Your replacement card should arrive in the mail within seven to 10 days.
You can have a replacement card expedited by request. The fee for this service is $13.50.
What Is The Maximum Spousal Social Security Benefit
The maximum spousal benefit is 50% of the amount that the spouse is eligible to receive at full retirement age. That’s a cap, by the way. If your spouse delays retiring until 70, the spouse gets more but you don’t.
Survivors may receive up to 100% of the deceased person’s Social Security amount. There’s a complicated formula for families in which more than one dependant is eligible for benefits. It caps the maximum.
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How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify
While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:
Those who are currently retired
To people with disabilities
To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died
Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.
There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:
Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits
Ask Larry: Can I Pay Into Social Security To Increase My Retirement Benefit Amount
Social Security may be one of your largest assets. What and when you collect will make a huge difference to your lifetime benefits.
Todays column addresses how benefits can be increased, when spousal benefits can become available, when repayment of benefits received might be necessary, spousal benefit availability after the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and how divorce and remarriage can affect benefit eligibility. Larry Kotlikoff is the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, a company that markets Maximize My Social Security, a Social Security benefits calculator referred to in this post.
Ask Larry about Social Security:
Can I Pay Into Social Security To Increase My Retirement Benefit Amount?
Hi Larry, I have worked overseas for over many years. As a result, my estimated monthly benefit when I start to claim would be around $200. Im 58 and hope to keep working until 65. My wife has heard that there is a way for me to catch up my Social Security contributions once we return to the US permanently. Id be happy to make up twenty years of contributions if allowed. Would such a thing be possible? Thanks, Al
Can I Receive My Spousal Benefit When My Husband Retires?
Hi Larry, I began receiving Social Security disability benefits before my full retirement age. When my husband retires, can I receive my spousal benefit based on his work? It will be $400$500 dollars more per month. Thanks, Marie
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Spouses Are Eligible For Social Security Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of the entire Social Security program is the spousal benefit.
If you are married, you are eligible for a Social Security retirement-age benefit based upon your spouses work history. While the basic rule states that you must be married for one year, there are exceptions.
If you are not currently married, you may be eligible for a Social Security retirement-age benefit based upon your former spouses work history, as long as your marriage lasted at least 10 years.
If you are eligible for your own Social Security retirement-age benefit, but your spousal benefit would be larger, you can use your spousal benefit to top-up your own benefit so that you receive the full amount of Social Security benefits available.
Limitations Of The Social Security Debit Card
While you can use the Direct Express Social Security debit card for the majority of your purchases, there are some limitations. You can use your card for online purchases as long as the retailer accepts MasterCard debit as a payment method. To use your card for gas purchases, you must pay the clerk inside the gas station; you cannot pay at the pump. If you use your Direct Express card to rent a car, the car rental agency will place an authorization hold on up to $500 of your funds. The authorization hold will be released when you return the rental car, but the money might not get back to your account for up to two weeks. In addition, the car rental agency may request additional documentation because you’re not using a credit card.
Depending on the merchant, you may experience a “hold” or block on your account when renting a car or reserving a hotel room. Companies place these holds in order to decrease their risk. Speak to the rental agent or clerk when paying, to find out when the block will be removed .
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Getting A New Social Security Card
Obtaining a new Social Security card that reflects your new, married name isn’t difficult. There is no fee for the service, and you can find a blank application for requesting the change on the SSA’s website. You must take the application to a local Social Security office or mail it to the SSA, together with the necessary supporting documents. The supporting documents must all be originals or certified copies from the issuing agency, not photocopies. After processing your application, the SSA returns all original documents to you.
The SSA requires original documents proving your identity, your citizenship, and your name change in order to supply you with a new card. A certified copy of your marriage certificate should be sufficient to prove your name change. Acceptable documents showing proof of identity include your state-issued driver’s license or ID card or your U.S. passport. Your passport also proves your citizenship, as would your birth certificate showing that you had been born in the U.S. or your Certificate of Naturalization if you are a naturalized citizen.
If your marriage certificate doesn’t show your name change because you decided to take your spouse’s name at a later date, updating your Social Security card may require a court order permitting you to change your name legally. An online service provider can help you navigate this process.
Get help changing your legal name.