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Is My Spouse Eligible To Receive Social Security Spousal Benefits

VA Disability & Social Security Disability Insurance | VA & SSDI | Social Security | theSITREP

Spouses are eligible to receive 50 percent of their spouses full retirement benefit if they wait until they reach full retirement age. If they apply for a spousal retirement benefit before that time, the amount is pro-rated, depending on the age at which the spouse applies. For example:

If a spouse applies for a spousal retirement benefit at age 62 and the full retirement benefit is age 67, the applicant will get 32.5 percent of the spousal benefit.

If a spouse applies for a spousal retirement benefit at age 62 and the full retirement benefit is age 65, the applicant will get 37.5 percent of the spousal benefit.

The benefit increases as ages go up, to a maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. It should also be noted that only one spouse can apply for a spouses benefit when a couple is married.

In cases of divorce, the divorced spouse can get retirement benefits on the spouses record if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years. To collect this benefit, the spouse must be at least 62 years old and not married. That benefit does not impact the amount a spouse and their current married partner can get.

Two Types Of Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration has two programs to assist those who have become disabled Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income . You may qualify for one or both of these programs.

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal disability insurance that you are automatically enrolled in through the Social Security taxes that have been deducted from your paycheck. Those tax payments give you access to cash and medical benefits if you are disabled before the age of retirement. Qualified family members may also receive benefits through this program. The awarded benefits are based on your past income and typically continue until you can work again on a regular basis.

Supplemental Security Income is a program to provide those who cant work with financial assistance to meet their basic needs . SSI is funded from general tax revenues, so it does not require the recipient to have worked in the past or to have contributed to Social Security. Benefits are based on your current resources, financial and otherwise. Minors with physical or mental disabilities or blindness may also qualify for financial assistance under this program.

How Does Social Security Affect Medicare And My Retirement Benefits

Although Medicare is a separate benefit offered by the government, it often times goes hand in hand with Social Security retirement benefits as a means of providing a financial safety net for retired workers.

Medicare is the government sponsored health insurance plan for people who are at least 65 years old. The only exceptions to this are the disabled or those who have permanent kidney failure, both of whom can get Medicare at any age.

Medicare is broken into four parts:

Medicare Part A Hospital insurance that helps pay for in-patient hospital care and some follow-up services.

Medicare Part B Medical insurance that helps pay for doctors services, outpatient hospital care and related medical services.

Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage Plans allow people to combine Part A and Part B to get medical services from a single provider organization.

Medicare Part D Prescription drug coverage helps pay for prescribed medications.

Medicare and Social Security benefits are linked in that when you turn 65 years old, your Part A Medicare hospital insurance begins automatically. If you live in the United States or U.S. territories, youll also be enrolled in Part B Medical insurance coverage as well.

Regardless of whether or not youre getting Social Security benefits, you should sign up for Medicare about three months before your 65th birthday.

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When Should I Take My Social Security Retirement Benefits

Waiting to collect Social Security benefits may be beneficial if youre able to do so. While the age to receive your full retirement benefit is 66-67 , you can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62. But each month you wait to start collecting increases your eligible benefits.4

Once you reach full retirement age, youre entitled to 100% of the benefits calculated from your lifetime earnings. If you wait until age 70 to begin collecting Social Security, your retirement benefit will be 32% larger.3

However, waiting may not be the right choice for everyone. Your advisor will help you determine an approach that reflects your options and your personal situation. For example, they may consider:

  • Varying tax rates on Social Security income
  • Capital gains and IRA withdrawals
  • Health issues

How Is My Social Security Benefit Amount Calculated

How to Apply for Social Security Disability

Another common Social Security benefits question is how payments are calculated based on your lifetime earnings. To account for changes in average wages each year, the Social Security Administration , indexes your income using the national average wage index.

The SSA calculates your average indexed monthly earnings based on the 35 years in which you earned the most. A formula generates your basic benefits, otherwise known as your primary insurance amount. This primary insurance amount is what you would receive at your full retirement age. If you were born between 1955 and 1959, full retirement age is between age 66 and 67. For those born in 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67.5

Also Check: Request For Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record

What Happens When Youre Self

When you’re self-employed, you’re considered both the employee and the employer. This means it’s your responsibility to withhold Social Security from your earnings, contributing the employer’s matching portion of Social Security and the individual’s portion.

Instead of withholding Social Security taxes from each paycheckmany self-employed people don’t get regular paychecksyou pay all the Social Security taxes on your earnings when you file your annual federal income tax return. This amounts to both your contribution and your business’s contribution.

IRS Schedule SE: Self-Employment Tax is where you report your business’s net profit or loss as calculated on Schedule C. The federal government uses this information to calculate the Social Security benefits you’ll be entitled to later on down the road. Self-employment tax consists of both the employee and employer portion of Social Security and the employee and employer portion of Medicare , which makes the total self-employment tax rate 15.3%.

It may seem like you’re getting the short end of the stick because you have to pay both the employee and the employer portion of the tax, but that isn’t necessarily true.

If you are self-employed and earned $400 or less, you wont owe Social Security taxes.

Earnings And Their Impact On Your Benefit Amount: How Much Will My Social Security Payment Be

Certain types of earnings may reduce your actual retirement benefit amount, while others will not. Those that may reduce the amount you receive include:

  • Wages earned as an employee. These dollars will be calculated for the taxable year that you earn them.
  • Self-employment net earnings. These dollars are calculated for the taxable year that they are received.
  • Work related income, including commissions and bonuses.

Other types of earnings will not impact the amount of the retirement benefit you receive. Generally, these will include:

  • Retirement and pension payments
  • Investment income
  • Income earned after you reach your full retirement age

In some instances, other types of income may affect the bottom line of your retirement benefit amount. Its best to check with your tax professional or call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

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You Still Have To Pay Into The System

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        Kirsten Rohrs Schmitt is an accomplished professional editor, writer, proofreader, and fact-checker. She has expertise in finance, investing, real estate, and world history. Throughout her career, she has written and edited content for numerous consumer magazines and websites, crafted resumes and social media content for business owners, and created collateral for academia and nonprofits. Kirsten is also the founder and director of Your Best Edit find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.

        When you work for someone else, that employer takes Social Security taxes out of your paycheck and sends the money to the Internal Revenue Service . But things work a little differently for people who are self-employed. If you fall into this category, keep reading. This article will help you understand how to calculate the Social Security taxes you owe.

        Can I Claim Spousal Benefits If I’m Divorced

        How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

        You are eligible for dependents benefits if both you and your former spouse have reached age 62, your marriage lasted at least ten years, and you have been divorced for at least two years. This two-year waiting period does not apply if your former spouse was already collecting retirement benefits before the divorce.

        You can collect benefits as soon as your former spouse is eligible for retirement benefits. He or she does not actually have to be collecting those benefits for you to collect your dependents benefits.

        If you are collecting dependents benefits on your former spouse’s work record and then marry someone else, you lose your right to those benefits. You may, however, be eligible to collect dependents benefits based on your new spouse’s work record. If you divorce again, you can return to collecting benefits on your first spouse’s record, or on your second spouse’s record if you were married for at least ten years the second time around.

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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 Much Can You Expect To Get

        Your Social Security retirement benefit payment is based on how much you made during your working years. The more you earned, the more you’ll get when you retire.

        Your Social Security retirement benefit payment is also affected by the age at which you decide to retire. You can retire as early as age 62, but if you retire before your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced, based on your age. For example, if you retire at age 62, your benefit would be about 25 percent lower than what it would be if you waited until you reach full retirement age.

        You also need to remember that monthly premiums for Medicare Part B are usually deducted from monthly Social Security benefits. Retirement is a great time to look into the pros and cons of a private Medicare Advantage plan.

        Retirement benefits are based on the recipients lifetime earnings in work in which they paid Social Security taxes. Higher income translates to a bigger benefit, up to a point. The amount to which retirees are entitled is modified by other factors, most crucially the age at which they first claim benefits.

        For reference, the estimated average Social Security retirement benefit in 2021 is $1,543 a month. The maximum benefitthe most an individual retiree can getis $3,148 a month for someone who files for Social Security in 2021 at their full retirement age.

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        How Do I Apply

        The SSA website has a button to fill out an application for disability online. The online application can be used to apply for both SSDI and SSI concurrently, but can only be used if you are not currently receiving Social Security benefits. Before filling out the application though, consider the following steps.

        • Gather information about yourself.You will need detailed information about you, your medical condition, and your work history. The online checklist found here can help.
        • Collect necessary documents. Documents such as birth certificates, last years W-2 forms, or medical evidence about your condition will also be required. A list of documents can be found on the SSA application information page here.
        • Consider speaking to a Social Security Disability lawyer.Social Security Disability lawyers offer free consultations and most work on a contingency basis, which means that they dont get paid unless they win you benefits, and even then they are paid from back-owed benefits that are being awarded. An experienced lawyer can help with the many details and exceptions in the Social Security application process, as well as with any uncertainties in reporting work experience, medical information, or financial need requirements. Application denials are also common, and a Social Security Disability lawyer can assist you through the appeals process.

        How To Apply For Social Security Benefits

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        The application process by itself is fairly easy and can be accomplished either online, by telephone or in person at a local Social Security office. Generally, people can apply for Social Security when they turn 62, but in many instances, it makes good financial sense to delay applying for benefits.

        Social Security also provides benefits for spouses and children as well. Spouses who have not been high wage earners throughout their lives can actually piggyback off of their spouses earnings and draw as much as 50 percent of a retirement benefit using their spouses Social Security record. Certain rules do apply in this set of circumstances. Divorced spouses may also qualify for benefits if their marriage lasted for at least 10 years and they do not remarry before applying for benefits.

        In addition, if children meet requirements, they can also apply for benefits from their parents Social Security work records as well. They may be eligible for funds if a parent passes away and they are under 18 and still in school.

        Once a benefit amount has been set, that dollar amount cant go down, but it can go up, based on cost of living increases. Some benefit recipients may experience a temporary reduction based on income from other sources, but the base amount will always remain steady.

        For an overview of Social Security and to start applying for retirement benefits, go to www.socialsecurity.gov or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

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        Can I Qualify For Benefits Based On My Spouses Income

        Short answer: in some cases.

        Retirement benefits are based on your own earnings record. Spousal and survivors Social Security benefits, however, are based on your spouses earnings, whether the spouse is deceased or divorced from you.Keep in mind that you may be eligible for spousal Social Security or survivors Social Security benefits as well as your own retirement benefit but, Social Security wont let you add these amounts together. Instead, you will receive whichever benefit is larger.

        How Your Social Security Benefits Are Calculated

        Your Social Security benefits are based on the 35 calendar years in which your income was the highest. If you have fewer than 35 years of earnings, each year with no earnings will be entered as zero. You can increase your Social Security benefit at any time by replacing a zero or low-income year with a higher-income year.

        There is a maximum Social Security benefit amount you can receive, though it depends on the age you retire. For someone at full retirement age in 2021, the maximum monthly benefit is $3,113. For someone filing at age 70, the maximum monthly amount is $3,895.

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        Documents You Will Need

        Whether you apply online or in person, you will need the following information when you apply for your Social Security benefits:

        • Your Social Security number
        • Your W-2 forms or self-employment tax return for the last year you worked
        • Your military discharge papers if you served in any branch of the military

        If you choose to have your benefits paid through direct deposit, you will also need your bank’s name, your account number and your bank’s routing number as shown on the bottom of your checks.

        Use Our Full Retirement Age Calculator For Social Security

        Social Security Board -overview of who qualify for retirement benefits

        One of the keys of deciding when to retire is determining when you will reach your full retirement age. Full retirement age, also known as normal retirement age, is the age you must reach to start receiving full retirement benefits from Social Security. This age varies depending on when you were born. Because people are generally healthier and living longer, this age has gradually been increasing. For people born before 1938, the full retirement age is 65. People born between 1938 and 1960 are on a scale that ranges up to age 67.

        Social Security has developed a Full Retirement Age Calculator that will give you detailed information on when your full retirement age is and what percentage of benefits you can expect as a record holder or as the spouse of a record holder. All thats required is for you to enter the year you were born.

        To use the Full Retirement Age calculator, go to

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        What Are The Age Requirements For Ssi Disability

        If youre older than 65, you meet the age requirement. Younger South Dakota disability applicants must pass a Disability Determination Services medical exam to confirm eligibility. A South Dakota disability lawyer can cover the cost of doctor visits and medical records if you cant pay for them yourself.

        You Can Claim Social Security Benefits Earned By Your Ex

        Just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean you’ve lost the ability to get a Social Security benefit based on your former spouse’s earnings. You can receive a benefit based on his or her record instead of a benefit based on your own work record if you were married at least 10 years, you are 62 or older, and you are single.

        Like a regular spousal benefit, you can get up to 50% of an ex-spouse’s benefit — less if you claim before full retirement age. And the beauty of it is that your ex never needs to know because you apply for the benefit directly through the Social Security Administration. Taking a benefit on your ex-spouse’s record has no effect on his or her benefit or the benefit of your ex’s new spouse. And unlike a regular spousal benefit, if your ex qualifies for benefits but has yet to apply, you can still start collecting Social Security based on the ex’s record, though you must have been divorced for at least two years.

        Note: Ex-spouses can also take a survivor benefit if their ex died after the divorce, and, like any survivor benefit, it will be worth up to 100% of what the ex-spouse received. If you remarry after age 60, you are still eligible for the survivor benefit.

        A claiming strategy if youre divorced: Exes at full retirement age who were born on January 1, 1954, or earlier can apply to restrict their application to a spousal benefit while letting their own benefit grow.

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