Social Security Spousal Benefits
The size of one’s Social Security spousal benefit depends on multiple factors. These factors include one’s age, the maximum benefit received by one’s spouse, and whether one is eligible for other benefits.
Overall, the maximum benefit claim amount for spouses is 50% of their spouse’s full benefits. However, there are certain mitigating factors that affect this percentage.
Calculating A Social Security Spouse’s Insurance Benefits
One of the main factors involved in social security benefits is retirement age. If a spouse waits until his or her full retirement, he or she may be eligible to claim a maximum spousal benefit. Full retirement age varies between 65 and 67 years of age, depending on one’s year of birth.
For those born after 1960, full retirement age is 67. Although some spouses choose to claim their spousal benefits as soon as possible, this can significantly reduce the maximum amount. The amount of the spousal benefits is reduced, as per the remaining months till full retirement age.
In other words, the percentage increases toward the maximum spousal benefit of 50% as full retirement age approaches. For some, patience is most rewarding. Other spouses simply want to receive their benefits right away.
Social Security Disability For Spouse Who Never Worked
For spouses who have never worked or paid into Social Security taxes, spousal benefits represent the only source of retirement income. These spouses are eligible to receive benefits if the beneficiaries are at least 62 years of age and are either receiving, or eligible to receive, retirement or disability benefits.
Social Security Dependents Benefits For Spouses
Spouses are also eligible to receive benefits if they have dependents. If a spouse cares for a child under the age of 16, the child’s dependent benefits continue until age 18, whereas the spouse’ benefits stop when the child reaches age 16.
This is always true, unless the spouse becomes eligible for retirement or widower(s) benefits. If the spouse is caring for a child who is disabled and collecting Social Security benefits, the spouse may receive dependents benefits even if the child is older than 16 or a legal adult.
Social Security Disability Spousal Benefits Strategy
Many divorced spouses are also eligible for ex-spousal benefits. In order to claim these benefits, the individuals must have been married for at least 10 years and the claiming spouse must not be entitled to a higher benefit than is his or her ex.
The spouse must also be at least 62 years old and unmarried. Benefits can be received if the divorce has lasted for at least two years. A spouse can collect benefits from an ex even if that ex hasn’t applied for benefits. Spouses don’t even need to tell their divorced spouses about the claim. Moreover, the benefits received will have no effect on any benefits.
If the claim is delayed until full retirement age, the divorced spouse may be eligible for 50% of the ex’s financial benefits. This is where it pays to be smart.