General, Retirement

Do You Qualify for Social Security Spouse’s Benefits?

August 24, 2023 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 24, 2023

couple discussing their benefit optionsSocial Security benefits are a crucial part of millions of Americans’ retirement income.

If you don’t have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits on your own record, you may be able to receive benefits on your spouse’s record.

To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be one of the following:

  • 62 years of age or older.
  • Any age and have in your care a child younger than age 16, or who has a disability and is entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record.

Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to one-half the amount your spouse is entitled to receive at their full retirement age. If you choose to receive your spouse’s benefits before you reach full retirement age, you will get a permanently reduced benefit.

If you wait until you reach full retirement age to receive benefits, you’ll receive your full spouse’s benefit amount, which is up to one-half the amount your spouse can receive. You’ll also get your full spouse’s benefit if you are under full retirement age, but care for a child and one of the following applies:

  • The child is younger than age 16.
  • The child has a disability and is entitled to receive benefits on your spouse’s record.

If you’re eligible to receive retirement benefits on your own record, we will pay that amount first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits that equal the higher spouse benefit.

For example, Sandy qualifies for a retirement benefit of $1,000 and a spouse’s benefit of $1,250. At her full retirement age, she will receive her own $1,000 retirement benefit. We will add $250 from her spouse’s benefit, for a total of $1,250.

Want to apply for either your or your spouse’s benefits? Are you at least 61 years and nine months old? If you answered yes to both, visit our website to get started today.

Are you divorced from a marriage that lasted at least 10 years? You may be able to get benefits on your former spouse’s record. You can find out more by visiting our Benefits For Your Family page for more information.

Please share this with your friends and family who may need it – and post it on social media.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Acting Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


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  1. Barbara S.

    Hi! both my husband and I are on social security. During the Pandemic, I learned that I could apply for spousal benefits for my LIVING HUSBAND. I did so, and only received an extra $100 in my Social Security check each month. I felt I should have gotten more being that my husband’s benefits is double the amount of mine. I didn’t appeal the decision then, but since talking with other spouses, feel I should have. Is it too late??

  2. john s.

    SOCIAL SECURITY IN ….USA ….IS A BIG “SURPRISE ” WE JUST CHANGED YOUR BENEFITS……………………………YOUR FUL RETIREMENT AGE IS NOW 66………YRS…….one gets thnese SURPRISE………………….BEcause theY take social security monies GIVE IT TO ILEGALS take from the hard working poor……………..

  3. Christine P.

    My husband passed away a couple of weeks ago. I was told by the gal at ssa that we would still get his social security this month since that was actually for August. He was supposed to get his ssi today, but it didn’t came. When I called ssa, she would not give me an answer as to why. She only gave me answers related to my lump sum payment of $255 which I already have an interview for on November 6th, and that I make too much to receive any surviving spouse benefits when I turn 60. My question is about why I didn’t receive his ssi this month since they said was payment for August. Can anyone help me with this?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Christine. We are sorry to hear about your loss. We encourage you to continue to work with your local Social Security office for assistance. You can ask to speak to a supervisor on your next call or visit. We hope this is resolved soon.

  4. jane

    Can I apply for spousal benefits at 65yrs old ( my retire age is 66 10) and apply for mines later at 70yrs old? please.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Jane. Thanks for your question. To qualify for spouse’s benefits, your spouse must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. Keep in mind  if you qualify for your own benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Visit our Benefits Planner for more information. We hope this helps. 

  5. Medardo s.

    My wife already 65 year old and she have a lot of sickness ex. Diabetis, heart failure, backpain etc. everytime she is sick. Can she avail for early retirement even she is short for 40 points? Can she pay to complete the points?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Medardo. We are sorry to hear about your wife’s condition. Credits are the “building blocks” we use to find out whether a person has the minimum amount of covered work to qualify for each type of Social Security benefits. No benefits can be paid if your wife does not have enough credits. Visit our Benefits Planner to learn more information. We hope this helps.

  6. Grace W.

    I didn’t know that there were so many points need to be known before qualifying for spouse benefits. Thanks for this useful information. I would love for someone to cover this topic and share a blog on our website,

  7. prashanth

    I am fortunate to reside in Australia, a country with a robust and comprehensive social security system. This system extends its protective coverage over various facets of our lives, most notably in the realm of healthcare. In Australia, healthcare is regarded as a fundamental right, ensuring that every individual, regardless of their economic status, has access to top-notch medical services.

    The extensive healthcare coverage provided by our social security system is a source of immense relief for families like ours. It means that when we or our loved ones encounter health challenges, we are not burdened by exorbitant medical expenses that could lead to financial hardship. Instead, we can focus on our recovery, knowing that the system is there to support us.

    One of the most heartening aspects of our social security system in Australia is the provision for pension benefits. This not only guarantees financial security for retirees but also extends support to their spouses and children. The assurance that even in retirement, one’s loved ones will be taken care of is a testament to the compassion and foresight of our social security infrastructure.

    While we may not be considered wealthy by traditional standards, we are immensely grateful for the system that ensures we live with dignity and security. Australia’s commitment to looking after its citizens, regardless of their financial circumstances, reflects the values of equality and social justice that form the bedrock of our society.

  8. Fatih E.

    I live in Turkey. The social security system is very strong. It covers everything in hospitals. His pension can go to his wife and children. We are not very rich, but thank God we live like humans.

  9. Rob O.

    My wife will be 65 next year and she has never worked in the USA. I’ll be 62 and have more than enough work credits to collect social security, but I plan on working at least until 65 myself. I know a spouse is entitled to payment based on their husband/wives work credits. She is going to have to enroll in Medicare to maintain my military service Tricare for Life benefits. How does it work, does she collect benefits when I do or at her age of 65?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Rob. Thanks for your question. For your wife To qualify for spouse’s benefits, you must be receiving retirement or disability benefits. For additional information about spouse’s benefits, please visit our Benefits Planner. As far as Medicare, your wife will be eligible to enroll in Medicare at age 65. For more information about Medicare, you can call the Medicare toll-free number, 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) or visit We hope this helps.


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