Providing for your spouse is often a key part of marriage. However, if your spouse has never worked, you may have questions about whether or not he or she will qualify for Social Security benefits, and what may happen in the event that you die. The following takes a look at benefits for spouses under Social Security law, and why starting to plan for the future now is important.
What are spousal benefits?
Spousal benefits are no misnomer – the benefit amount refers to Social Security benefits that are paid to the spouse of an individual who’s covered by Social Security insurance when the spouse reaches retirement age. A spouse does not have to have worked under Social Security to qualify for benefits. But, the spouse must be at least 62 years old, and you must be receiving either disability or retirement benefits on your own record in order for your spouse to be eligible.
As a note, a spouse can begin receiving benefits at any age in the case that a child under the age of 16 is being cared for by him or her, and if the child is also receiving a form of Social Security benefits (most likely Supplemental Security Income).
Calculating Spousal Benefits
The amount that your spouse will receive is dependent upon your spouse’s age, the amount of Social Security she or he qualifies for on his/her own record, and your own earnings amount while working under Social Security.
The age at which your spouse claims his/her spousal benefits will have a large impact on the benefit amount. Consulting with a professional is advised. If your spouse begins claiming his/her spousal benefits before full retirement age is reached, the monthly benefit amount will be reduced by a percentage that is based on the number of months until full retirement age is reached. If claiming spousal benefits before full retirement age, retirement earnings may also affect the amount.
On the other hand, if your spouse waits until full retirement age to begin collecting spousal benefits, then the amount that he/she may receive may be equal to or less than (but not more than) one-half of your full retirement amount. It is important to note that your spouse’s spousal benefits will not decrease your personal benefit amount – despite the amount that is paid to your spouse, you will continue to receive 100 percent of your benefit amount.
What if my spouse worked?
Something that you need to take into consideration is whether or not your spouse worked under Social Security. If so, then your spouse’s benefit amount under his/her own record will be paid first. However, it is possible for your spouse to get a higher combination amount that factors in his/her own benefit amount in addition to your benefit amount.
The Importance of Planning for Social Security Benefits
Evidently, there are a myriad of factors that can affect the amount of benefits that you, your spouse, and your family receives, ranging from income to age and just about everything in between. To ensure that you and your spouse receive the maximum benefit amount possible, you need to meet with a Social Security professional immediately. At Social Security 567, our team is ready to consult with you today. You can get in contact with us now by filling out a contact form online.