Social Security Spousal benefits are one of the most confusing and often misunderstood benefits when it comes to claiming Social Security.
Some common questions that come up when I teach about Spousal benefits are:
- How Do Social Security Spousal Benefits work?
- Does A Wife Get Half of Her Husband’s Social Security?
- Can I Switch From My Social Security Benefit To A Spousal Benefit?
By the way, if you are getting close to deciding when to take your Social Security benefits then you really should also check out the FREE video on How To Avoid Running Out of Money In Retirement While Securing Your Nest Egg!
Now let us take a look at the answers to some of these important questions.
How Do Social Security Spousal Benefits Work?
Everyone who has worked at least about 10 years part-time or more will qualify for Social Security benefits based on their own work record.
If you are Married for at least 10 years you also may qualify for Spousal benefits.
Spousal benefits generally equal one-half of your spouse’s benefit amount at your full retirement age.
You do not get to collect both your work benefit and your spouse benefit at the same time.
You generally get the larger of the two benefits.
Other Important Spousal Benefit Considerations:
- Spousal Benefit is reduced Pro-Rata if Spouse elects early.
- Initial Spouse must claim first before the spousal benefit can be claimed against their record
- You can claim a spousal benefit even if you do not qualify for a benefit on your own
Here is a short video on that explains Spousal Benefits as well as Survivors Benefits:
Now let us take a look at one more important question:
Can I Switch From My Social Security Benefit To My Spouses Benefit?
There are two circumstances I can think of where you can switch from your own Social Security Benefit to your spouses’ benefit.
- If you were born in 1953 or earlier you might be eligible to collect a spousal benefit while you let your benefit grow and then switch back to your own benefit. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.
♦ The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 began to phase out this strategy, but some people will still qualify.
- If your spouse has not turned on their benefit yet, you can turn on your benefit first and then elect your spousal benefit later if it is more than
your benefit and get a raise.
For many, there is more than meets the eye when calculating the ideal way to elect Social Security and often this decision is irrevocable once elected.
For these reasons, it pays to have an analysis done by a professional BEFORE heading down to the Social Security office to elect your benefit. Spousal or otherwise.
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