Many retirees’ budgets heavily depend on Social Security, particularly those of those who are finding it difficult to save money. In fact, according to a 2023 analysis from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, little over 40% of baby boomers say they anticipate their benefits to be their main source of income in retirement.
Social Security Benefits For Married Individuals
This implies that it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting all the benefits for which you qualify. Married couples may be eligible for an additional monthly payment from Social Security, even though retirement benefits are the most prevalent kind. Those who have labored and earned Social Security taxes for ten years or more are often eligible to receive retirement benefits. You can get spousal benefits even if you have never worked if you are married to someone eligible for Social Security.
Apply For Spousal Benefits
You have to be married at the time of application for spousal benefits, and your spouse has to be eligible for disability or retirement benefits. The maximum amount you are eligible to receive is half of what your spouse will get when they reach full retirement age (FRA). You must wait until your own FRA to start making claims to get the maximum spousal benefit to which you are eligible. Depending on your birth year, your FRA will be between 66 and 67, however, you can apply for Social Security as early as age 62.
This also applies to retirement benefits; however, there’s one distinction: delayed retirement credits aren’t available for spousal benefits. Delaying your claim over your FRA for retirement benefits will result in higher monthly payouts. Spousal benefits, however, stop at your FRA; you will not receive additional payments if you wait over that age. Furthermore, your spouse’s decision to postpone Social Security benefits past their FRA will not impact the amount of your spousal payment.
Eligibility For Both Retirement And Spousal Benefits
You will still be eligible for a maximum of 50% of their benefit at their FRA. Retirement benefits and spousal benefits can be obtained based on your work record; however, the amount you receive may vary depending on your work experience. Based on your past earnings, the SSA will begin paying your retirement benefit. You will then earn a further sum in spousal benefits if your spouse’s job record qualifies you for a greater payment. Let’s take an example where your spouse will get $2,000 per month at their FRA and you have the right to $800 per month based on your job record. Your maximum monthly spousal benefit in this scenario would be $1,000.
Your $800 monthly benefit will be paid to you first, followed by a $200 monthly benefit for your spouse. Only the larger of the two sums will be collected by you. You do not qualify for this sort of Social Security at all if your retirement benefits exceed your potential spousal benefits. Individuals who are not married may also be eligible for additional Social Security benefits each month. Divorce benefits may be available to you if you are divorced. To be eligible, you cannot be married at the moment and your prior wedding has to have existed for at least ten years. 50% of your ex-spouse’s benefit at their FRA is the maximum amount you can make, just like with spousal benefits.
And just like with spousal benefits, the same guidelines apply if you are eligible for your retirement benefits. Furthermore, your ex-spouse’s benefit amount will not be impacted by your receipt of divorce benefits. It also won’t affect their current partner’s eligibility to receive spousal benefits based on their employment history if they have remarried. In retirement, Social Security benefits can add up, so it’s a good idea to be sure you’re receiving the maximum amount. It makes sense to utilize your spousal or divorce benefits to the fullest extent possible to optimize your retirement income.