Find Your Social Security Full Retirement Age
You can claim your Social Security benefits a few years before or after your full retirement age, and your monthly benefit amount will vary as a result. But first you have to know what it is.
Also known as normal retirement age, your Social Security Full Retirement age is the age at which youre entitled to 100% of the Social Security benefits youve earned. FRA is 66 for beneficiaries born between 1943 and 1954 it gradually increases to 67 for beneficiaries born in 1960 or later. If you take benefits before FRA, your benefits will be reduced. If you file at age 62, for example, benefits will be as much as 30% lower. More on that in a moment.
What About The Lump
The lump-sum Social Security death benefit is a one-time payment of $255. If a person is already claiming spousal benefits at the time their spouse dies, that person does not need to submit a separate application for the lump-sum Social Security death benefit. The $255 will automatically be credited. Dependent children, though, will need to apply to receive the $255 payment.
Are Benefits Paid Retroactively
No one wants to interrupt their grieving process to fill out forms and wrangle with bureaucracy. Unfortunately, though, the Social Security Administration does not make retroactive payments after a period longer than six months. If you wait more than six months to claim Social Security death benefits, you will not be entitled to back payment for the time over six months. So it pays to make your benefit claim appointment promptly.
Read Also: Benefits Of Employee Engagement Survey
How Much To Expect
By visiting the Social Security Administration website you can learn more about the spousal Social Security payment amount you should expect to receive. You can expect your spousal benefit to be roughly 50% of your spouses benefit at their full retirement age.4 When you are eligible to receive your full benefit is considered the full retirement age.
When it comes to delaying your payments, spousal and personal benefits often differ. Say you were to consider delaying your personal benefits until after your retirement age occurs, the benefit would then increase over time. Keep in mind, spousal benefits will max out at the full retirement age and there is no benefit to delaying past that time.
More Than Just Income: The Social Security Spousal Benefit And Medicare Coverage
If you are eligible for a Social Security spousal benefit, you are also entitled to premium free part A Medicare at age 65. The catch?
Youre entitled to Medicare only if your spouse is at least 62 years old.
If you are more than 3 years older than your spouse, you may have to buy Medicare Part A until your spouse turns 62. Thats when your premium-free benefit would start. The Part A monthly premium is $422 in 2018.
Read Also: Nj State Retirees Health Benefits
Social Security Spousal Benefits
Social Security is a vital source of retirement income for most women. For this reason, it is important to understand how the spousal benefit works and how it can impact the amount of Social Security income you receive.
As a spouse, you can claim a Social Security benefit based on your own earnings record, or collect a spousal benefit in the amount of 50% of your spouses Social Security benefit, but not both. You are automatically entitled to receive whichever benefit provides you the higher monthly amount. In order to qualify for Social Security spousal benefits, you must be at least 62 years old and your spouse must also be collecting his or her own benefits. Additionally, if you are the higher earner, your spouse can apply to collect spousal benefits based on your work record. It is important to note that claiming a spousal benefit does not impact the benefit amount received by the worker whose earning record is being used.
Taking Benefits Early
- At age 65, you would receive 45.8% of your spouses benefit.
- At age 64, you would receive 41.7% of your spouses benefit.
- At age 63, you would receive 37.5% of your spouses benefit.
- At age 62, you would receive 35% of your spouses benefit.
Recent Changes to Claiming Strategies that Affect Spousal Benefits
Applying for Benefits
Social Security Spousal Benefits Explained: Elegibility And How Much Can You Receive
A guide to what you need to do to obtain this benefit
If you are married, or if your partner is deceased, there is information that can be extremely valuable to you, as there is an opportunity for you to become a beneficiary of the Social Security you are entitled to if the other person is deceased.
Don’t Miss: State Of Nebraska Retirement Benefits
How Can A Married Couple Maximize The Surviving Spouses Benefits
Im glad you asked! Many Americans are so excited to start collecting checks when they hit their sixties that they forget to plan a Social Security strategy that makes sense for their spouse, too. The age at which you begin taking retirement benefits affects how much your monthly payments will be for the rest of your life and beyond. Your filing age will set the amount that will go to your survivors as Social Security death benefits.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 changed the auxiliary benefit rules in important ways. First, as of April 30, 2016, the file-and-suspend strategy for maximizing spousal benefits is no longer allowed. That strategy allowed one member of a couple, usually the higher earner, to file for primary benefits at 62 and then suspend those benefits, allowing them to grow until the filer reached age 70. In the meantime, the first persons spouse would file for spousal benefits and let his/her own primary benefits grow. It was a lucrative strategy for those lucky folks who took advantage of it, but it has been phased out.
For everyone else, if you file for your own benefits before age 70 and then have a change of heart and decide you want to take advantage of Delayed Retirement Credits, you can still suspend your benefits. But if you suspend your benefits, any benefits based on your record will be suspended, too. Retirees who un-suspend their benefits will no longer get a lump sum payment as of April 30, 2016.
How We Make Money
You have money questions. Bankrate has answers. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout lifes financial journey.
Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers.
Were transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
Read Also: Elevator Division Retirement Benefit Plan
The Bottom Line On Spousal Benefits
Spousal benefits can boost your Social Security if your spouse earns significantly more than you. However, if youre employed for most of your working years, you may still qualify for a bigger benefit on your own. If youre wondering how much youd qualify for on your own record or your spouses, you can create a my Social Security account to estimate your benefits and kickstart your retirement planning.
The Requirements To Apply
To be eligible to receive these benefits if you are not a widow or widower, you must meet the following requirements:
– Your spouse is already collecting retirement benefits.
– You have been married for at least one year.
– You are at least age 62 .
You may also be eligible to collect benefits related to your partner’s work you are not required to have a work history as well.
This benefit is given as long as your own retirement income is less than what you would receive as a spouse.
In case your spouse is deceased, these are the requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for Social Security:
– Have been married to the deceased beneficiary for at least nine months .
– Be at least age 60, unless you have a disability or are caring for a child of the deceased beneficiary who is under 16 or disabled .
How The Restricted Application Strategy Works For Eligible Spouses
If you reach full retirement age and are eligible for your own benefits as well as spousal benefits, you may choose to collect benefits under your spouse’s account now and defer your own benefits until later. To file a restricted application, both you and your spouse must be of full retirement age, and you both must have filed for Social Security benefits.
Filing a restricted application can result in a higher benefit amount when you later file for Social Security under your own account. The reason is you will have accrued delayed retirement credits for each year you deferred retirement, up to age 70, when benefits max out.
Each year of delayed retirement is worth an additional 8% in benefits for those born between 1943 and 1954. So, for example, a person born in 1952 who retires in 2021 at age 69 will receive an additional 24% over and above what they would have received had they started collecting in 2018 at their full retirement age. However, only one person per couple may collect spousal benefits while earning delayed retirement credits on his or her own account.
And, to repeat, this option is no longer available to anyone who wasn’t born on or before Jan. 1, 1954.
Spousal Benefit Reduction Due To Early Entitlement
If you file for a spousal benefit prior to your full retirement age, that spousal benefit will be reduced due to early filing. The reduction is 25/36 of 1% for each month early, up to 36 months. For each month in excess of 36 months, the reduction is 5/12 of 1%.
Example : Bobs full retirement age is 67. Bob files for his retirement and spousal benefits at age 65 . As a result, his spousal benefit will be reduced by or 16.67%.
The final calculation of Bobs spousal benefit will be 83.33% x . And to that, we would add Bobs own retirement benefit to find the total amount of his monthly benefit.
Also Check: How To Claim Retirement Benefits
Who Is Entitled To Survivors Benefits From Social Security
How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies SSA.gov/benefits/survivors
Social Security is a key source of financial security to widowed spouses. About 7.8 million individuals aged 60 and older receive Social Security benefits based, at least in part, on a deceased spouses work record. These surviving spouse beneficiaries are overwhelmingly women.
These beneficiaries include 3.6 million people who are eligible only as widowed spouses. Another 4.2 million who are entitled to benefits based on their own work records but whose deceased spouses benefit amounts were higher than their own, will receive higher benefits as individuals .
Your May Have To Pay Taxes On Social Security Benefits
Most people know that Social Security is funded by a tax on earnings, currently 6.2% for the employee . But some retirees dont realize that you may well have to pay income tax on Social Security benefits when it comes time to claim them. Benefits lost their tax-free status in 1984, and the income thresholds for triggering tax on benefits havent been increased since then.
It doesnt take a lot of income for your Social Security benefits to be taxed. Your benefits wont be taxed if your provisional income is less than $25,000 if youre single or $32,000 if youre married. If youre single and your provisional income is between $25,000 and $34,000, or married filing jointly with provisional income between $32,000 and $44,000, up to 50% of your Social Security benefits may be taxable. If your provisional income is more than $34,000 on a single return or $44,000 on a joint return, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable.
The Social Security Administration says about 40% of beneficiaries pay taxes on their benefits. Since the thresholds arent adjusted for inflation, the number of beneficiaries who pay taxes on Social Security benefits increases every year. The Social Security Trustees annual report estimates that taxes on Social Security will total $45.1 billion in 2022, up from $34.5 billion in 2021.
You may also have to pay state income taxes on your Social Security benefits. See our list of the 12 States That Tax Social Security Benefits.
You May Like: T Rowe Price Employee Benefits
Changes To Social Security Law
Some changes to the law in recent years have affected how you can collect spousal benefits. If you were born on or before Jan. 1, 1954, you may still be eligible to use a benefits-claiming strategy known as a “restricted application” to increase your benefits.
Younger recipients won’t be able to use this strategy, which was ended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.
How Spousal Benefits Are Calculated
Spousal benefits are based on how much the other spouse would receive if that person began collecting benefits at the full or “normal” retirement age.
The Social Security Administration has an online calculator that can show you what percentage of your spouse’s benefits you will be eligible for depending on your own age when you start receiving benefits.
The short answer to the calculation is this: You’re eligible for half of your spouse’s benefit amount as long as you wait until your full retirement age to apply. The earlier you file, the less you’ll get.
You May Like: Income Tax Calculator For Social Security Benefits
Calculating Social Security Spousal Benefits
Spousal benefits are based on your spouses primary insurance amount, which is the amount theyre eligible for at full retirement age . Depending on how old you are when you start Social Security, you can receive 32.5% to 50% of your spouses benefit.
If you wait until your full retirement age which is 67 if you were born in 1960 or later youll qualify for the 50% maximum. But if you claim as soon as youre eligible at 62, youd only receive 32.5% of their full benefit.
When you take your own retirement benefits, you can earn 8% delayed retirement credits for each year you wait past your full retirement age until you reach your benefit cap at age 70. However, you cant earn delayed retirement credits when youre taking spousal benefits. Youll receive your maximum benefit once you reach full retirement age.
You also wont earn extra if your spouse waits past their full retirement age. The rules are different for surviving spouses, as well discuss shortly.
If you take spousal benefits, you wont affect the benefits your husband or wife receives. Their benefit is based solely on their primary insurance amount and when they claim.
Follow These Steps To Get Started:
Thats it! So create or sign in to your mySocial Security account and start planning for your future today!
Already have a mySocial Security Account?
Sign in to your account and scroll down to the Plan for Retirement section to start planning for your future.
Recommended Reading: Are Medicare Benefits The Same In Every State
The File And Suspend Strategy
Prior to 2016, workers could file for benefits , then suspend their own benefits in order to maximize their credits for deferred filing. This so-called file and suspend strategy meant that a lower-income partner could take advantage of spousal benefits while the primary earner accrued delayed retirement credits, thereby increasing their benefit amount.
However, this “have your cake and eat it, too” loophole was closed with the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which took effect in April 2016.
While it is still possible to file for benefits and then suspend payments temporarily, any other benefits that would normally be available on your account are no longer payable during such suspensions.