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Does Spouse Get Social Security Benefits

You Only Get One Payment

How do I get half my spouse’s Social Security benefit?

You can either get your Social Security income or your spouseâs, but not both. Once you and your spouse are both getting Social Security benefits, upon the death of your spouse, you will keep getting the larger benefit.

If your spouse had started benefits, but you had not, you can choose to collect a survivor benefit now. If your benefit would be larger when you reach age 70, you can then switch.

If you are caring for a child younger than age 16, you will receive 75% of the deceased workerâs benefit amount. This is true at any age.

It Allows Spouses To Collect Benefits:

Although Social Security was designed as a program to reward those in the workforce with a guaranteed income at retirement or for certain disabilities, non-working spouses are also eligible to collect benefits. Under the current rules at the time of writing, a non-working spouse is entitled to an amount that is equivalent to 50% of their working spouses benefit. The only stipulation is that the couple must be married for a minimum of 12 months before submitting the application.

Do We Pay Death Benefits

A one-time lump-sum death payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if they were living with the deceased. If living apart, they were 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 Unfortunately, it is no longer applicable, also due to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.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.

What Happens If I Retire Early

Social Security Survivor Benefits For Divorced Spouse

If you collect spousal benefits before you reach your full retirement age, then the amount of your benefit will be permanently lowered for lifeunless you are caring for a qualifying child. The reduction in benefits depends on how soon you retire, as the penalty for early retirement compounds each month according to the SSA, your benefit could be reduced by as much as 35%.

Carefully consider the long-term consequences of claiming spousal benefits early. Youll be reducing the benefit paid to you over the course of your lifetime and will also reduce the survivor benefit that either you or your spouse may be entitled to.

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Yes You Can Receive Social Security Benefits While You Work

There are a few things to keep in mind as you decide whether to wait to receive Social Security benefits once you retire or earn them as you work.

For those inching closer to the retirement age, eventually collecting Social Security benefits is probably on the mind. You might be wondering whether or not you can start collecting Social Security benefits while you continue to work. The short answer is yes, with a few stipulations.

People who were born on or after Jan. 2, 1960, have a full retirement age of 67. If you work and are older than the retirement age, you can keep all your benefits with no reductions. People under 67 can collect benefits as they work, but their Social Security earnings will be significantly reduced.

The Social Security Administration stresses that, though your benefit amount may be reduced, it isn’t lost. “Your benefit will increase at your full retirement age to account for benefits withheld due to earlier earnings,” the SSA writes in a guide.

To learn more about Social Security benefits, here’s a Social Security cheat sheet for 2022 and a guide to how your COLA increase will impact next year’s benefit amounts.

When Should You Claim A Survivor’s Benefit

There are pros and cons to taking your survivor benefit before your FRA.

If you start at a lower age, you get this income for a longer time. The amount you get, though, may be lower than if you started later.

Many people can start to collect a survivor benefit before their reach FRA. It may make sense to start collecting now, then switch to your own retirement benefit at age 70 if it would be larger at that point.

For example, you could have these two options:

  • At age 60, take a deceased spouse’s benefit of $18,180 a year. Then at age 70, switch to your own benefit of $20,304.
  • At age 62, take your own benefit of $10,752 a year. Then at 66, switch to your own benefit of $24,480 a year.
  • At first glance, taking the money at 60 might seem like a good idea. But choosing option 2 will provide at least $30,000 more income over your life.

    It will also provide a more secure income at age 66 and beyond once you take into account. If your goal is to reduce the risk of living longer than you have money for, you will want to use the option that gives you the most income over the rest of your life.

    This might mean not starting benefits right away, even if you are able to get them. If you wait until age 66 or 67 and get more, you will have a higher total payout from Social Security over your lifetime.

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    Delay Claiming Social Security Benefits

    The simplest way to increase your monthly payments is to delay claiming Social Security benefits. The Social Security Agency allows all Americans to start benefits at the early retirement age of 62, but doing so can reduce your monthly payment paycheck.

    If you choose to begin receiving Social Security early, for each month there is between when you start and your full retirement age you lose about half a percentage point of the total value you would have earned if youâd waited.

    You could miss out on up to 30% of the monthly payment youâd be entitled to at your full retirement age by starting early. If you would receive a monthly benefit of $1,500 at your full retirement age of 67, for instance, starting benefits early at age 62 would reduce that amount to $1,050.

    Waiting to start Social Security benefits until after your full retirement age can boost your monthly benefit. According to Eric D. Brotman, CEO of BFG Financial Advisors, there is an 8% annual increase in benefits due for each year you wait from full retirement age through 70.

    That means the $1,500 benefit at age 67 could increase by 24% to $1,860 per month if you wait until 70âthatâs the age at which you must begin payments. Just donât wait until after age 70 to start payments.

    Divorced Know This Significant Exception To The Rule

    Social Security Spousal Benefits – MADE EASY to Understand

    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.

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    Strategies For Claiming A Spousal Benefit

    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.

    What If I Am Under The Full Retirement Age

    If you are under the age of 67, you can still collect benefits but the amount you collect will be significantly reduced based on how far away you are from 67 and how much you are currently earning. The SSA counts your earnings as the wages you earn from your job or your net earnings if you are self-employed. Bonuses, commissions and vacation pay are counted, while pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, government or other military retirement benefits are not.

    If you are under the retirement age for the full year, the Social Security Administration deducts $1 for every $2 a person earns above the annual limit this year’s annual limit is $19,560. During the year that a person reaches their full retirement age, the SSA will deduct $1 for every $3 a person earns above a different limit, which is $51,960 for 2022. The month you hit your full retirement age you can earn benefits with no earning limits.

    Visit this page to calculate your retirement earnings and this page to calculate at which age you may be eligible to retire.

    Read more:Social Security: Deciding When to Start Collecting Benefits? Read This

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    Who Can Get Survivor Benefits And At What Age

    After the death of a spouse, you can get a monthly Social Security survivor benefit. This is true as long as you have been married for at least nine months.

    If you are caring for the child of your deceased spouse, and the child is under the age of 16, you can claim your spousal payment after their death even if you were married much less time.

    You can collect a Social Security survivor benefit as early as age 60. If you are disabled, you can collect this payment as early as age 50.

    At age 60 you will receive only about 70% of the amount you could get if you wait until your Full Retirement Age . This is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956. FRA increases for people born in 1962 or later. The highest FRA for collecting a spousal benefit is 67.

    Beware The Social Security Earnings Test

    When My Spouse Dies, What Will I Get From Social Security?

    Bringing in too much money in earned income can cost you if you continue to work after claiming Social Security benefits early. With what is commonly known as the Social Security earnings test for annual income, you will forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 you make over the earnings limit, which in 2022 is $19,560. Once you are past full retirement age, the earnings test no longer applies, and you can make as much money as you want with no impact on benefits.

    Any Social Security benefits forfeited to the earnings test are not lost forever. At your full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will recalculate your benefits to take into account benefits lost to the test. For example, if you claim benefits at 62 and over the next four years lose one full years worth of benefits to the earnings test, at a full retirement age of 66 your benefits will be recomputed and increased as if you had taken benefits three years early, instead of four. That basically means the lifetime reduction in benefits would be 20% rather than 25%.

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    Social Security Rules For Spouses With Dependent Children Under 16

    If youre claiming spousal benefits before age 62, you will not see a reduction in benefit amount so long as youre caring for your spouses dependent child under 16. However, your benefit will be subject to SSA maximum benefit rules which cap payments to family members based on a workers SS record to no more than 150% or 180% of the workers FRA benefit amount.

    When spousal benefits and dependent benefits exceed this cap, they will see their benefit amount reduced equally between them.

    How Do Spousal Benefits Work

    Many families are structured around a single head of household whose sole income contributes to the Social Security system. If he or she were to retire, become disabled, or pass away, the non-working spouse would likely face financial hardship without the supporting assistance of spousal Social Security benefits. According to SeniorCareAdvice.com, spouses make up 8.2% of Social Security beneficiaries eligible children and widowers also make up a significant portion of beneficiaries.

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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 800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security field office to apply for the spouse’s SSDI benefit. You must provide Social Security with the following:

    • your birth certificate
    • your Social Security number
    • the disabled worker’s SSN, and
    • your bank’s routing information for direct deposit.

    If you’re applying for a survivor benefit, you’ll also need to provide your deceased spouse or ex-spouse’s death certificate or other proof of death from the funeral home.

    If Your Spouse Also Worked Under Social Security

    If Your Spouse Dies, Can You Collect Their Social Security Benefits?

    If your spouse is eligible for retirement benefits on their own record, we will always pay that amount first. But, if the spouses benefit that is payable on your record is a higher amount, they will get a combination of the two benefits that equals the higher amount.

    If your spouse will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, their Social Security benefit on your record may be affected.

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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 Much Is The Social Security Spousal Benefit

    If youre eligible and can qualify, the spousal benefit can be as much as 50% of the higher-earning spouses full retirement age benefit.

    If your spouses full retirement age benefit amounts to $2,000 per month, your spousal benefit at your full retirement age could amount to $1,000 per month.

    Its important to note that this benefit cannot be more than 50% of the higher-earning spouses full retirement benefitbut it can be less!

    Thats because the benefit is also based on your filing age. Depending on how old you are when you file, the spousal benefit amount will range between 32.5% and 50% of the higher-earning spouses full retirement benefit.

    Check out the chart below to get an idea of how the benefit works and what your payment might be if you can take advantage of spousal benefits. The chart assumes that your full retirement age is 67 and your spouses full retirement age benefit is $2,000 per month.

    Did you notice the steep penalty for filing early? You receive significantly less in payments if you choose to file sooner rather than wait until full retirement age.

    You may have also noticed that the spousal benefit does not increase beyond your full retirement age. When considering your own Social Security benefit, there can be a lot of advantages to waiting to file and delaying when you start receiving payments well past your retirement age, but thats not the case here.

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    What Happens If The Deceased Received Monthly Benefits

    If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, you must return the benefit received for the month of death and any later months.

    For example, if the person died in July, you must return the benefits paid in August. How you return the benefits depends on how the deceased received benefits:

    • For funds received by direct deposit, contact the bank or other financial institution. Request that any funds received for the month of death or later be returned to us.
    • Benefits received by check must be returned to us as soon as possible. Do not cash any checks received for the month in which the person dies or later.

    Can My Spouse Receive Social Security Benefits If They Are Not A Us Citizen

    The 2020 Guide to Social Security Spousal Benefits

    Yes. In most cases, non-US spouses can claim Social Security benefits. Your foreign spouse will typically qualify for survivor benefits and may also qualify for spousal or dependent benefits.

    There are exceptions, though. To understand whether your non-US spouse is eligible to receive Social Security benefits, lets take a look at the requirements.

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    Benefits For Your Spouse

    Benefits are payable to your spouse:

    • Age 62 or older, unless your spouse collects a higher Social Security benefit based on their earnings record. The benefit amount for your spouse is permanently reduced by a percentage, based on the number of months up to their full retirement age.
    • At any age if they are caring for your child under age 16 or who was disabled before age 22, and is entitled to benefits.

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