The spousal Social Security benefit is one of the most generous benefits available to retirees, but many people don’t understand how the benefit works or are unaware it exists.
Most financial advisors agree that Americans need some more education around the spousal Social Security benefit. Since you can maximize what you receive from Social Security, it’s worth educating yourself about the benefit.
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The benefit is available to current spouses, widowed spouses and ex-spouses. Current spouses and ex-spouses are eligible for this benefit if the marriage lasted for 10 years and each spouse did not remarry prior to age 60.
For married couples, here are the criteria:
It’s important to keep in mind that you are not eligible to receive a spousal benefit until your spouse files for their own benefit first.
You can receive a spousal benefit from an ex-spouse’s social security accrual even if your ex has not yet filed for his or her own benefits, but your ex must be age 62 or older.
A recent Social Security report found that 2.3 million individuals received at least part of their benefit as a spouse of an entitled worker.
Some of these spouses had benefits of their own but were eligible to receive a higher benefit because the spousal benefit amount was greater than their own benefit.
Here are the benefit offerings:
There are Social Security laws and more specifics based on your birthdate, so it’s important to do your research on when you can claim benefits.
Careful timing allows you more Social Security benefits during retirement years.
Spousal Social Security benefits are only available if an individual has not remarried.
Unlike married couples, divorcees do not need to wait for former spouses to file for Social Security benefits. If you’re divorced and were married at least 10 years and have been divorced for two years or more, you can file for spousal benefits at age 62, regardless of your spouse’s filing status. Your spouse needs to be age 62 or older, though.
Again, it’s important to remember that filing for spousal benefits before retirement age can result in a reduced monthly amount.
Widows and widowers can begin claiming benefits at age 60 or as early as age 50 – if they have a disability that occurred or started within seven years of their spouse’s death.
Learn more about benefits for your spouse from the Social Security Administration.
Timing is important when claiming the spousal Social Security benefit.
Here are a few things to consider:
Careful planning and strategizing can help you find the best way to utilize these types of benefits for more retirement and lifetime income.
For more information or retirement planning help, connect with a financial advisor today to start planning for a successful financial future.
Are you planning on taking advantage of the spousal Social Security benefit? Why or why not? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.