General, Retirement

Do You Qualify for Social Security Spouse’s Benefits?

August 24, 2023 • By

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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


  1. Ruthie D.

    I’m 61 years old will be 62 in in three (3) months I’m on ssdi will I be eligible (switch) to collect my husband or my retirement if not when and I’m using my spouse address to receive my mail even though I don’t stay there is that a problem

  2. Roy W.

    My wife passed away in August of 2022 and she was receiving her SS benefit.
    Can I apply for her SS as a surviving spouse.
    I currently receive my SS, I am 76 years old.

    • Tim

      My understanding is you are entitled to the larger of the two benefits. Your current benefit or 50 percent of her benefit but not both. More than likely your current benefit is the larger. You can apply and i think they will automatically give you the larger amount. As an aside, you are entitled to a 250 dollar burial benefit check.

      I am just a guy on the internet. Call social security

  3. Michele M.


    I’m a surving spouse no children and my spouse passed at 51 worked for 26 years if i get married will it affect the amount of social security?

  4. Boris

    My spouse started to collect at 63. She is 72 now. She does not have any other income.
    I am 68; do not collect yet; work, and so have an income.
    Am I entitled to receive a portion of my spouse Social Security Benefits?

    • Richard

      At your age, you should be able to draw off your own SSN, and still work if you choose to.

Comments are closed.