Thursday, June 16, 2022

When Can My Spouse Collect Half Of My Social Security

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Strategies For Claiming A Spousal Benefit

Will I Lose Half of My Social Security If Spouse Claims Half? – YMYW podcast

Social Security offers quite a few options for how to claim your benefits, and while the options are meant to give flexibility to retirees and others, they do create more complexity. Everyone wants to get all the benefits theyre entitled to, and this complexity might obscure an avenue to receiving more money from the program. Spouses have a few ways to proceed here, and the best course of action often depends on your personal financial situation.

For those looking to max out their spousal benefit, one course of action is obvious.

The best strategy to claim Social Security retirement benefits as a spouse is to wait until you reach normal retirement age, 65 to 67, depending on birth year, says Lindsay Malzone, a Medicare expert at website MedicareFAQ. Unless you currently care for a qualifying child, you will receive a reduced benefit if you have not yet attained normal retirement age.

But there are exceptions to this general rule, especially if you believe your longevity is an issue.

The spousal benefit may also offer some flexibility for older filers. For example, a spouse may be able to claim spousal benefits on a workers account and then later claim benefits on his or her account. If your spouse was born before Jan. 2, 1954 and has already reached full retirement age, your spouse can receive the spousal benefit and delay receiving their own retirement benefit until later. If your spouse was born after this date, this option no longer exists.

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    How To Calculate Your Own Social Security Spousal Benefits

    The spousal benefit calculation is straightforward if you dont have a benefit of your own. Remember, in that case, its between 32.5% and 50% of the higher-earning spouses full retirement age benefit, depending on your filing age.

    However, it can seem a little more complicated if you have Social Security benefits from your work history.

    And to keep things interesting, the Social Security Administration decided that a different calculation method should be used to determine how much each benefit should increase/decrease based on your filing age.

    Fun, right?

    As complicated as Social Security benefits can seem, there is a way to correctly calculate how much your spousal benefit will be if you qualify to receive it.

    Check out this section of my video that goes over this calculation step-by-step. VIDEO: How To Calculate Spousal Benefits The RIGHT Way

    If you understand how they break down the individual benefits, its not hard to use the table above to quickly figure out what your approximate benefit will be. Heres an example.

    Joe and Julie each have a Social Security benefit from work they individually performed. Julies benefit at her full retirement age is $800 per month. Joes benefit at his full retirement age is $2,000.

    Assuming they are both full retirement age when they file, Joe will be entitled to a benefit of $2,000 and Julie will be entitled to the greater of her own benefit or half of Joes benefit.

    Sounds simple, right?

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    Applying For Spousal Disability Benefits

    If your husband or wife’s disability claim has already been approved, call the Social Security Administration at 772-1213 to apply for the spouse’s SSDI benefit. You must provide the SSA with your birth certificate, your marriage certificate, your Social Security number , and your bank’s routing information for direct deposit. If you are applying for a survivors benefit, you will also need to provide your deceased spouse or ex-spouse’s death certificate or other proof from the funeral home.

    How Much Will My Spouse Receive

    Can I Collect My Ex

    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.

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    Early Filing Penalties Reduce Your Monthly Income

    Spousal benefits could be worth up to 50% of your husband or wife’s standard benefit . So if your spouse whose record you are claiming benefits on was eligible for a monthly payment of $1,500, you could receive up to $750 per month in spousal benefits.

    The key thing to note, though, is that this is the maximum. You’ll end up with substantially less if you start spousal benefits before your full retirement age. That’s true regardless of how old your mate is. If the primary earner claims benefits at FRA but you start your checks when you’re just 62, early filing penalties could reduce your monthly Social Security check to as little as 32.5% of your partner’s standard benefit — down from 50%.

    Before starting your checks early, make certain you’re aware of this major potential downside.

    Amount Of Spousal Disability Benefits

    If the disabled worker is still living, a spouse generally receives 50% of the disabled worker’s primary insurance amount , although if the disabled worker’s children are collecting benefits at the same time, the spouse’s benefit can be reduced. The total of the spouse’s benefit and the children’s benefit cannot be greater than the maximum family benefit, which is generally 150% of the disabled worker’s monthly SSDI benefit.

    The amount a surviving spouse will receive depends on how old the spouse is and whether the spouse is taking care of the deceased worker’s children. The amount varies between 75% and 100% of the deceased worker’s monthly amount.

    In addition, if a disabled worker dies while receiving Social Security benefits, the surviving spouse will receive a death benefit worth several hundred dollars if the surviving spouse was living in the same household.

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    How Do Divorce And Remarriage Affect Social Security Benefits

      It is common knowledge that husbands and wives are entitled to collect Social Security benefits on their spouses’ work records. Less well known is that this benefit applies to divorced spouses as long as the spouse has not remarried. Divorced spouses are even entitled to survivor benefits in certain circumstances.

      As a spouse, you have the option of claiming a Social Security retirement benefit based on your own earnings record or collecting a spousal benefit equal to half of your spouses Social Security benefit. You are automatically entitled to whichever benefit is higher and you can collect on your spouses record even if you have never worked yourself.

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      As a divorced spouse you can collect benefits on your ex-spouses record, even if the ex-spouse has remarried and even if the ex-spouses new spouse is collecting on the same record.

      But to get this benefit, you must meet the following requirements:

    • You were married for at least 10 years
    • You are at least 62 years old
    • Your ex-spouse is eligible for retirement benefits
    • You are currently unmarried
    • If your ex-spouse has not yet applied for retirement benefits but can qualify for them, you can receive benefits on his or her record provided you have been divorced for at least two years.

      Survivors Benefits

      If you are caring for a child under age 16 or disabled who is getting benefits on the record of your former spouse, you would not have to meet the 10-year marriage rule.

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      Can My Wife Get Half of My Social Security Benefit?

      Your benefit would be even less than half if you claim Social Security early. If you started collecting at 62, as soon as youre eligible, youd only receive 32.5% of your ex-wifes full benefit. You also cant earn 8% delayed retirement credits each year should you hold out past full retirement age. Your benefit would cap out at 50% of your exs primary insurance amount.

      Fortunately, you dont need to make this into a guessing game. When you apply for Social Security, you can ask them to calculate both your retirement benefit and your spousal benefit. Youll get whichever benefit is more. You can also use Social Securitys online calculators to estimate how much youd get from retirement benefits vs. spousal benefits.

      When its time to apply, Social Security will need to locate your ex-wifes record. This process will be easier if you still have her Social Security number. Otherwise, you may need to provide her date of birth, where she was born, and the names of her parents. Also be prepared to provide a copy of your marriage certificate and divorce decree.

      The bottom line here is that your exs Social Security doesnt deserve to occupy any real estate in your brain. Focus on getting the maximum benefit for yourself, whether its through your own benefit or your exs.

      Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to .

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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.

      Strategy For Divorced Spouses

      If you have been divorced for at least two years, you can apply for spousal benefits if your marriage lasted 10 or more years. If, on the other hand, you are still married and considering a divorce, and are near retirement age, try to apply for spousal benefits before your divorce is final. If you have been married and divorced multiple times, you can choose to receive whichever spousal benefit is highest. Saving your ex-spouses Social Security numbers and dates of birth will make the enrollment process easier.

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      What Are Social Security Spousal Benefits

      Social Security spousal benefits are retirement benefits paid by the Social Security Administration to the spouse of a primary beneficiary. When Social Security started, many women did not work outside the home. The Social Security Administration quickly realized that many women would not qualify for benefits because they did not have a sufficient earnings record. So, spousal benefits for wives began in 1939. This allowed a married woman to collect benefits upon reaching retirement age, even though she did not work enough to qualify for her own benefits. Husbands were not allowed to claim spousal benefits until 1950.

      Similarly, the rules for ex-spouses who wish to claim spousal benefits have traditionally been more beneficial to women than men. Only fairly recently have the rules become more standardized so that the same rules apply to both men and women regardless of who the primary beneficiary is. Spousal benefits are often converted to survivor benefits after the passing of the primary beneficiary. The widow or widower may then switch to survivor benefits to receive a higher amount than they normally would using only spousal benefits.

      Ask Larry: Can My Wife Claim Social Security Spousal Benefits On My Record If She Files At 62

      Social Security Benefits for a Divorced Spouse

        Economic Security Planning, Inc.

        Today’s column addresses questions about when spousal benefits can be filed for, how deeming affect people born in 1954 and later, how foreign pensions can affect Social Security benefits and how the lower earning spouse can maximize their benefits. 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.

        Can My Wife Claim Social Security Spousal Benefits On My Record If She Files At 62?

        Hi Larry, I am married and three years younger than my spouse, who’s 57. I’m also the higher income earner. She wants to retire and start collecting Social Security benefits as soon as possible at 62. What is the optimal way to file? Can she draw on my record since I’m the higher earner even though I am also the younger of the two? I’ve seen it the other way but not this way. Thanks, Joshua

        Hi Joshua, Your wife can’t qualify for spousal benefits at least until you start drawing your retirement benefits. And if she files for her own benefits at 62, your wife will be stuck with the resulting reduction for age that would be applied to her benefit rate for as long as both of you are living. That’s true even if she qualifies for spousal benefits some time after starting her own benefits.

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        You Can’t Earn Delayed Retirement Credits Even Though Your Spouse Can

        A primary earner claiming benefits on their own work history can actually increase the amount of money they get above and beyond their standard benefit amount.

        They can do this by waiting beyond their full retirement age and earning delayed retirement credits. Credits are available until 70, and increase a standard benefit by 2/3 of 1% per month, or up to 8% for each full year of delay.

        While it often pays off for a primary earner to wait to get this extra money, retirees claiming spousal benefits can’t increase their checks using this approach. Delayed retirement credits aren’t available for spousal benefits, which can’t go above 50% of the primary earner’s standard benefit.

        Since you get no bonus for waiting, there’s no benefit to delaying the start of spousal benefits beyond your full retirement age. You still might have to wait, though, if your spouse hasn’t yet unlocked eligibility by claiming their own checks.

        Knowing all three of these rules is vital to making an informed choice about when you want your spousal benefits to begin, so make sure you understand their implications and work with your partner to make decisions about Social Security that make the most sense for both of you.

        Ask Larry: Can My Wife File At 62 And Later Get Full Social Security Spousal Benefits

          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 some ramifications of filing early, the ability to restrict an application before full retirement age , reductions in benefits due to foreign pensions, voluntarily and involuntarily suspending benefits and the application of delayed retirement credits. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, a company that markets Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner. Both tools maximize lifetime Social Security benefits. MaxiFi also finds retirement account withdrawal strategies and other ways to lower your lifetime taxes and raise your lifetime spending. Most important, it suggests how much to spend and save each year to enjoy a stable living standard through time.

          Ask Larry about Social Security here.

          Can My Wife File At 62 And Later Get Full Social Security Spousal Benefits?

          Before filing, you and your wife may want to use one of my company’s two tools Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner to help maximize your lifetime Social Security benefits. Social Security calculators provided by other companies or non-profits may provide proper suggestions if they were built with extreme care. Best, Larry

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          Remarrying After Age 60 To Collect Spousal Benefits

          If your spouse died before you were sixty, you may be eligible to receive spousal benefits from the Social Security system. However, remarrying after that age may come with certain penalties. First, you will forfeit your widow benefit if you remarry before you reach that age. Second, you may face a penalty if you remarry before 60. However, if you wait until you are 60 and marry again, there is no penalty to remarry.

          The rules for remarrying after age 60 to collect a spousal benefit from Social Security are more stringent for those who have been married for at least 10 years. However, if you are married for more than 10 years, you can choose between the benefits of your first and second spouse. However, you must remember that if you are divorced from your first spouse, you cannot collect spousal benefits from that ex-spouse.

          Remarrying after age 60 can also give you the option to collect spousal benefits from the previous spouse. The question is whether or not to collect these benefits first or second. In either case, you need to determine which order is right for you. After deciding to remarry, you should decide how much you want to collect before you marry again. The first month of your subsequent marriage is your best chance to receive benefits.

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