Spousal Social Security Benefits

elderly spousesAt full retirement age, which is now 66, your spouse can receive the greater of the spouse’s benefit or 50% of your benefit. This presumes that both of you are at least age 66. This is good for spouses that never worked or had low earnings. For example your spouse qualifies for a retirement benefit of $700 or a spousal benefit of $800. At full retirement age the spouse would receive the spouse’s benefit of $500 and will receive $200 from the spousal benefit for a total benefit of $700.

In some situation the spouse elects to start taking retirement benefits at age 62 and would be entitled to a reduced benefit of 65% of the benefit at normal retirement age. When the spouse attains the age of 66 it is possible for the spouse to also receive some spousal retirement benefits. Using the above example, the spouse’s early retirement benefits would be $325. The spousal retirement benefit would be 35% (not 50%) of $1,400 or $490. Therefore the spouse would not receive any spousal benefit as that amount was less than the spouses own benefit of $500. However, as the spouse started receiving benefits at age 62 the retirement benefit remains at $325 not $500. If your retirement benefits were greater than $1,400 then your spouse could receive some spousal benefits.

As you can see this is a complicated set of rules and it is not an easy task to find the answer to this issue on the Social Security website. Feel free to contact you ShindelRock professional for assistance in making these determinations.