Understanding Spouse’s Benefits

" "Marriage is a cultural institution that exists all over the world. Having a partner means sharing many things including a home and other property. Understanding how your future retirement might affect your spouse is important. When you’re planning for your fun and vibrant golden years, here are a few things to remember:

Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it. If you qualify for your own retirement benefit and a spouse’s benefit, we always pay your own benefit first.  You cannot receive spouse’s benefits unless your spouse is receiving his or her retirement benefits (except for divorced spouses). If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, when you add spouse’s benefits later, your own retirement portion remains reduced which causes the total retirement and spouses benefit together to total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more on our website.

On the other hand, if your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.

If the deceased worker started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to the surviving spouse. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:

  • The reduced monthly retirement benefit to which the deceased spouse would have been entitled if they had lived, or
  • 82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).

Knowing how your finances affect your spouse’s can help both of you avoid future impacts on your incomes. When it comes to information, we have over 80 years of experience. Access a wealth of useful information by visiting our benefits planners.

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247 thoughts on “Understanding Spouse’s Benefits

    • I am 65. I was married for 16 years to first husband. We divorced and he died at age 50. I remarried at age 47. I took my SS early at age 62. We are now divorcing, and I want to know if I can take my 1st husband’s SS instead of mine if it is more than mine?

      • Thanks for your question, Cher. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, the marriage had to last for at least 10 years. Generally, we cannot pay benefits if the divorced spouse remarries someone other than the former spouse, unless the latter marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment). For more information on how someone can qualify for divorced spouse benefits, visit our Benefits Planner: If You Are Divorced. For specific information about your case, call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. or contact your local Social Security office. Hope this helps!

  1. I am divorced and getting the spouse benefit. I will be 70 this year and will want to pull my own benefits at that time. Do I get both my benefits and spousal benefits or only one of them?

    • Hi Doug, thank you for your question. You may be able to get spouse’s benefits but, under existing law, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, you must apply for both benefits and you’ll receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other.

      However, if you turn 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if you wait to file at your full retirement age or later. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other.

      It sounds like this may be your situation. If so, you can switch over to your own retirement at any point in time, or at age 70. This means you will no longer receive the spouse’s benefit. See our Deemed Filing For Retirement And Spouse’s Benefits FAQs web page for details.

  2. My spouse took early retirement at her age 62…..I took retirement at 65, not full retirement at 66. My question is ….. If I die first is my wife entitled to any more than she is currently receiving?

  3. I am a graduate of a world-renowned university, and after reading this three times, I still don’t really understand it. Maybe try a flow chart??

    • I agree. Doesn’t live up to its title. Maybe this is the government shut-down version. It should start with the normal and then go into exemptions. It starts out confusing. Not written in a way that an average person, who isn’t an expert at Social Security benefits, can understand. Perhaps some examples would help.

      • This topic involved too many contingencies and a change in the law effective 2016. It should have been broken into subtopics. However, better information is available at the ssa.gov Benefits Planner pages. This was too ambitious an attempt in a limited format.

  4. Specifically, how does it work if a wife was on disability at about age 58 and then when spouse retired with full benefits, there was an increase for wife. However, if a divorce happens, does divorced wife still receive 50% of ex-spouses social security amount?

  5. my ex spouse of nearly 20 yrs won’t be 62 until jan 2020. i am receiving mine currently. he made more than i did and so do i wait until my full retirement age (sept 2020) before i can receive his or can i go ahead and retire in march 2020 and receive his? daughter is getting married in may 2020 so i could really use some answers. I am currently 64 and ex is about to turn 61 next wk. also, do i need to file for his benefits since im receiving mine now? thank you

    • Hi Theresa, thank you for the question. You must wait for your ex-spouse to qualify for retirement benefits, but he doesn’t have to apply, if you have been divorced for at least two years.

      Also, keep in mind that we will always pay your own retirement benefit first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit. The divorced spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (not their reduced benefit amount). So, you can only receive additional divorced spouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not your reduced benefit) is less than half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit.

    • Had to be married 10 yrs, and meet age requirements. If you file for his, you also file for yours, and you only get the higher one.

    • Hello Dawn, thank you for your question. We will always pay your own retirement benefit first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit. However, your divorced spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (not his reduced benefit amount). So, you can only receive additional divorced spouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not your reduced benefit) is less than half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit.

      To inquire about potential benefits, call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or contact your local office directly.

  6. I found this post to be extremely confusing. The use of the word spouse, is of course correct, but using it for both parties in a discussion about one versus the other is hard to follow. Maybe say the first and second or use an example like John and Mary.

  7. This explanation is very confusing!

    My wife will take early, earned Social Security at age 62. (Born 1957)

    I will continue working for a couple more years, until full Social Security retirement at 66 years 2 months. (Born 1955)

    After I retire at 66.2 years how much of my retirement would my wife be entitled to in case of my death?

    Thank you!

  8. I retired at full retirement age. My spouse is 9 years younger than I am. He retired early. His benefit is substantially less than mine. He receives some small amount for being my spouse and a small benefit based on his own earnings.
    If I die before he does, will his benefit be increased? Will he receive the same amount I do now? Today, our combined income allows us to live a lower middle class life, but without my larger social security benefit, it would be difficult. Thanks.

    • Hi Ola, thank you for your question. Your husband’s survivor amount would be based on your earnings. The more you paid into Social Security, the higher his benefit will be. If you are already receiving benefits when you die, survivors benefits are based on that amount. The percentage of that amount that your husband would receive depends on how old he is when he files as a widower. We are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either record, meaning you don’t get both retirement and widow(er)s benefits but the higher of the two.

      Widowers benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widowers benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner to look at how your family members are protected if you die.

  9. This is a very poorly written article.
    “Your full spouse’s benefit could be up to 50 percent of your spouse’s full retirement age amount if you are full retirement age when you take it.” This as well as other sections of this “explanation” are nearly impossible for even fluent English speakers to comprehend.
    I have asked three of my peers who are college grads to explain this to no avail. Please have this re-written and presented in a more understandable format.
    Thanks.
    cw

      • Very confusing…..
        I read it three times and i cannot make a bonafide guess at what you are trying to say, other than confuse all of those that read it.
        maybe you can get a 5th grader to de-cipher and re-write it in “LAYMANS LANGUAGE” what you are tring to put across.

    • Your spousal supplement could cause your monthly benefit to be 50% of your spouse’s benefit, but only if you both wait at least to your FRA to begin. If you start early, you will be penalized.

  10. Good article. I was unaware of the 5% of deceased spouse FRA benefit being available to the surviving spouse, even if the deceased spouse took early SS benefits.

  11. Social Security was set up to provide income at age 65 for all workers who contributed during their lifetime and isnot an entitilement as our politicans use, but a savings account for workers. It is now being used by so many that have never worked but get it through politicans new rules that many spouses are living in prvety

  12. This is a very confusing article. “The spouse” is used more than once in a sentence, and it is difficult to know if you are referring to the same spouse or the other one. Perhaps you could ask some non-experts in ss to read it over to check for clarity.

  13. Neat kids program! Bet she did well. They cast me as King North Wind at Effingham, if I remember correctly. I was pretty shy in those days, but managed to get thru it.

    Dad

  14. Will both husband and wife receive their whole benefit check when both are alive and both have retired, one at 65 yrs and the other at 70 yrs?

  15. Terrifically NON-useful post …. overuse of spouse … can’t tell which person you are referring to. Needs clearly delineated as worker & spouse and/or “person A” (worker) and “person B” or similar. I can’t tell who is the worker and which required first etc.

    • Hi Marian, thank you for your question. A survivors benefit amount is based on the deceased’s earnings. The more they paid into Social Security, the higher the survivor benefit will be. If the deceased was receiving reduced benefits prior to passing, survivors benefits are based on that amount.

      Widows benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widows benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner to look at how your family members are protected if you die.

  16. Bunch of baloney.social security isn’t a piggy bank but they have made it just that.Notice its always reducing somewhere along the way sure didn’t reduce when we put in to it

  17. Good morning, I watch last night about 12:20 am NZ time, all about the speech of Mr. Wilkie and Ms. Davis and I spoke to one Lady at the confidential crisis tel. no. I said my “Medicare A” card was expired need one to used for my thyroid to fix.I did not change my name on my loss Soc. Sec. Card and never applied for any benefits. Whoever using my identity, please cooperate to me in finding the ages solutions. Thank you.

  18. What happens when the retiree and or spouse draws a federal retirement check in their own right? Why don’t you explain why a retired federal retiree cannot draw survivor benefits of the spouse?

  19. Please clarify the statement: “For example, you are eligible for $400 from your own retirement and $150 as a spouse for a total of $550.” versus the website referenced at the end of the third paragraph.

    The statement seems to say you get the sum of the own retirement benefit and spousal benefit, but the website seems to say you get the higher of own retirement benefit vs. spousal benefit.

    I struggled to understand parts of this blog post. For example, the second paragraph says “If a spouse accepts reduced retirement benefits before starting spouse’s benefits (his or her spouse is younger), the spouse will not receive 50 percent of the worker’s benefit amount”. It uses the word spouse 4 times, and it’s not clear to me which spouse it is sometimes referring to.

    • Hi Bill, thank you for reading our blog post. We will always pay a person’s own retirement benefit first. If their benefits as a spouse are higher than their own retirement benefits, they will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, keep in mind that a spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of the worker’s full retirement amount (not their reduced benefit amount). So, a person is only going to receive additional spouse’s benefits if their own full retirement benefit (not their reduced benefit) is less than half of their spouse’s full retirement benefit.

      For example, if a worker’s full retirement benefit amount is $1,100, the spousal benefit is 50 percent of that, or $550. However, if that spouse is eligible for a full retirement benefit on their own record of $400, then their actual spouse’s benefit would be an additional $150 which equals that 50 percent. If the spouse waited until their full retirement age to file, they would receive one payment of $550, even though $400 was from their own retirement record and $150 was from their spouse’s record. Benefits are reduced if the individual files prior to their full retirement age.

  20. I was married almost 20 yrs when divorced. Neither of us have remarried. I understand I may collect off of his. BUT If mine is more than half of what his SS check is, I would or could not. Did I understand that correctly?

  21. I worked for LACCD and was told I could also contribute to SS to have this retirement. I contributed for 11 years to SS and to CalPERS. Then I got a job with CalSTRS and have worked for 22 years. I now find out that I have lost my social security. I worked and contributed for 11 years!! Why? I cannot even get derivative benefits thru my ex, who makes well over 150,000 per year. I have twice met with SS agents in Roseville, CA…only to get incorrect information.
    My estimated combined PERS/STRS is about $3000. My own SS estimate now is about $1000. I have lost this money??? Why? Thanks.
    Please let all teachers know that if they decide to teach before they have certain number of years contributing to SS they lose that in addition to losing derivative rights if they join CalSTRS!!

  22. I believe there is an error due to miscalculations by a SS worker, in my SS, how can I appeal this for review and corrections?

  23. Isn’t it nice that everyone is confused after reading this article, and they all have questions, but all of those questions are unanswered!
    Is that because of the government shutdown, or because you don’t answer questions left as comments on your blog?

  24. If you wait and take SS at age 70 then pass will your spouse be able to claim the amount you received at age 70 when you pass? What amount will the survivor receive .

  25. My wife has advanced Alzheimer’s. I’m guessing she will pass before me. Her monthly SS income is higher than mine. Can I receive her amount rather than mine on her passing?

    • Hi Terril, thank you for your question. Your survivor amount would be based on your wife’s earnings. The more she paid into Social Security, the higher her benefit will be. If your wife already filed for benefits prior to passing away, survivors benefits are based on that amount. The percentage of that amount that you would receive depends on how old you are when you file as a widower. We are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either record, meaning you don’t get both retirement and widowers benefits but the higher of the two.

      Widowers benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widowers benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner to look at how families are protected if the worker dies.

  26. Yes, I have different question, mine is about if you are already on dissability!!! My situation is different my husband and I had been married 20 years or more I started drawing my DISSABILITY when I was 42, I worked all my life till that point and I maDE good wages so , I had married but I was a VICTIM of a crime when I was younger. A very serious crime I was kidnapped torturd all night almost killed the man that done this got 2 99 year sentences, very serious crime. My husband had several different things wrong he drew his dissability for 8 years before passing, I’m guessing but he had a massive stroke which left him completely paralyzed on 1 side had had a prior hip surgery then after his stroke HD became septic in that hip, and it had to be taken out, he was completely bed bound!! But when he died he had turned 62 he had a birthday in April and he died on aug.6 2017, I was I was 55 when he died, he drawer 1,372.00 monthly and I drew 1,037.00 monthly So I go report the death they said I would draw my check but a small portion of his, which ended up being 240.00 monthly!! So WHAT I’M ASKING IS THAT REALLY THE RIGHT AMOUNT??? BECAUSE OUR BILLS WERE BASED ON THIS AMOUNT IT DID NOT SEEM RIGHT!!

    • Hi Elizabeth, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. The monthly amount you would get as a widow is a percentage of the deceased’s basic Social Security benefit. It depends on your age and the type of benefit you are eligible to receive. If you file for disabled widow’s benefits between the ages of 50 through 59, you are eligible for 71.5 percent of the deceased spouse’s benefit. Use our Survivors Planner to look at the various survivor benefit amounts.

  27. If I take my benifit at FRA and pass away and my .wife took her benifit early Would her widow benifit be 100% of mine if she was at FRA when I passed.
    Thank you

    • Hello Frank. You got it!. Remember that your survivor benefit amount is based on your earnings over your working life. The more you paid into Social Security, the higher your widow’s benefit will be. If you start receiving reduced benefits and then passed away, your wife’s survivors benefit will be based on that amount.

      If your wife started receiving retirement benefits based on her own record, at the point of your demise, her retirement benefit amount will be considered to see if it is less than the amount she could receive as your survivor. Using the example you gave, she would be entitled to your 100% FRA amount.

      See our Survivors Planner for more information. We hope this helps. Thanks.

  28. I am on disability due to injuries received in a car wreck in 2010. Will my disability amount increase or decrease now that I’ve turned 62?

    • Hello Deborah. Once a person reaches their full retirement age, we automatically convert their disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the amount remains the same. The individual will receive a written notice of the change. If you have specific questions regarding your benefits, you can also call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the day. We hope this helps!

  29. I have misplaced my SS card and need a replacement. Could you please send me a replacement to:

    CL Bagby
    1300 Mountain Laurel Cir
    Harrisburg,PA 171110

    Phone: 717 545 1870

    • Hi, Cristen. First, realize you may not need a replacement card. You will rarely need to show it. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important. To see if you’re eligible to apply for a replacement Social Security card online or to learn more on the process and what documents you will need to get a card, please visit our Social Security Number and Card web page. Thanks.

  30. Thank you for the confusing article. As a Social Security workshop leader I am always looking for government examples as to why you need my workshop. The article will no doubt provide a surge in enrollment.

  31. I married on June 10 2017. I started collecting disability from SS in 2012 because of stage 4 cancer of my vocal cord, COPD, Heart attack and 5 strokes. I was declared 100% disabled. I now collect $1035 per month and my disability has moved into retirement because I turned 67 last August 13th 2017.
    My wife just file for early retirement and she receives a little over $1800/month. We wanted to buy a home so we could retire. We did and our mortgage is almost $1700/month. Before she applied, she was working and earning approximately $72,000/year. She owned her 2014 Ford Edge and I had a total loss 2003 Ford Minivan and I needed a vehicle. So I purchased a 2018 Ford Explorer Base package, my notes are $640/month. Our car insurance is a little over $220/month, and our household bills are well over $1000. Then she lost her great paying job and was denied Unemployment. For 4 months we sold our home and downsized from a home she owned prior and paid all of our credit cards off that we existed on for the 4 months she was out of work in access of $25,000. We are now back up to $13,000 in credit card debt because she got a new job and is earning 1/2 of what she was making at her previous job. She has supporting her grandson who is now 10 yrs old. since he was just 2 years old because her mother was in prison for stealing over $30,000 from her and also drug possession charges. She has had full custody of our grandson since he was 2. We just charged our credit cards to adopt him and we are still providing him every thing in life all sports, school, food, clothing and insurance.
    She just started collecting her retirement a couple of months ago and we are in financial ruins and are drowning in dept. She gets $250/month for his care through Social Security. Our adoption is in it’s ladder stages and waiting for the Representative to come visit our home. Then we sign the papers.
    Please help us!

  32. What if my spouse died before he received social security even if he was of age to retire? He was getting disability for diabetes and leg amputation due to being diabetic.

  33. I just read the above article concerning my spouse’s
    Social Security benefits and now I’m totally confused. Right now I am 65 and my wife is 67. I receive disability benefits from the VA and the same with Social Security disability. Should I predecease my wife she will start to receive only a small amount of what I now get from the VA. I had been told from friends that my wife would loose her SSA benefits and would gain mine. Obviously this is in error. Just how do I calculate the amount that she will receive

    • Hello Richard, thank you for your question. Your wife’s survivor amount is based on your earnings. The more you paid into Social Security, the higher her benefit will be. If you are already receiving reduced benefits when you die, survivors benefits are based on that amount.

      Widows benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widows benefit at full retirement age or older.

      If your wife is receiving retirement benefits on her own record at the time of your demise, she can only apply for benefits as a widow if her retirement benefit amount is less than the benefits she would receive as a survivor.

      Use our Survivors Planner to look at how your family members are protected if you die.

      As for your Veteran Administration benefits, Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits due to military retirement benefits. Please visit our Benefit Planner: Military Retirement And Social Security Benefits for more information. However, Social Security survivor benefits may affect benefits payable under the optional Department of Defense Survivors Benefit Plan. Your spouse may want to check with the Department of Defense or military advisor for more information.

      We hope this helps.

    • Hi Raymond, thank you for your question. Your survivor benefit amount is based on your wife’s earnings. The more she paid into Social Security, the higher your benefit will be. If she is already receiving reduced benefits and then dies, your survivors benefits will be based on that amount.

      Generally, widow or widowers benefit is payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widows benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner Planning For Your Survivors. Hope this helps.

  34. Prior to retiring a social security supervisor held a seminar and stated that I could/would receive benefit monies from my ex-husbands account, even though we had divorced and remarried. I worked many years including 20 years with the Veterans Administration with CSRS. My assigned Social Security agent refused to allow the husband’s benefit. I think I deserve the extra income but have hit a brick wall. Do I have to hire an attorney?

  35. All we are trying to find out is where is the benefit from my stepfather going now that my mother is deceased? His pension needs routing info in order to stop it.

    • Thank you for contacting us, Sonya. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      To inquire about a benefit, your stepfather will have to contact his local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  36. In the instance of a divorced spouse, married 30+ years, does she have to wait until spouse dies to collect on his account? She collects on her own acct.

    • Hello Judy. Thank you for this question. The short answer to your question is No. You may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if:
      • You were married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • You are age 62 or older;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

      For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced. Hope this helps!

  37. mi conyuge tiene 61 años a que edad ella puede jubilar ?
    Ahora yo recibo 1000 dolares ,cuanto ella recibira cuando se jubile?

    mUCHAS GRACIAS

  38. This is word salad, it makes no sense. It doesn’t parse. PLEASE try again, give a list of terms and define them. It’s a shame we taxpayers are paying for this mumbo-jumbo.

    • Hi Donald, thank you for your question. After you sign in to your my Social Security account, you can update your email address. After inputting your username and password, you will be at the security code screen. If you receive your security code via email only, then indicate that you cannot access the options listed above and need to reset where you receive security codes. We will then send you a letter with a reset code and instructions.

  39. I’m divorced and would like to know about benefits if any I have from my ex husband. He is 3 yrs younger than me. He was self employed, so how will this affect me if and when he gets his benefits?

    • Thank you for your question, Gloria. Please check out our Social Security divorced spouse’s benefits web page for all the details.

      If you are divorced and currently unmarried, you may be able to receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if your marriage lasted 10 years or longer. We will always pay your own retirement benefit first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit. However, the divorced spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your ex-spouse’s full retirement amount (not his reduced benefit amount). So, you can only receive additional divorced spouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not your reduced benefit) is less than half of your ex-husband’s full retirement benefit.

  40. I need to know about benefits I may be entitled to after divorce. We were married 36 years and I believe his social security is higher than mine.
    How do I find out.

  41. If my spouse took benefits at age 62 and her amount was reduced by 25%, four yrs later when I begin my benefits, will her spousal supplement (about $300) also have the same 25% penalty applied to it? FRA for both is 66. Mine is $2400 and hers alone is $900.

  42. I have a question. My child is getting Social Security because she had to apply for child’t insurace benefits-Life Claim as she was born is C.P. The question is why does she get part of my Social Security benefits. They took 1/2 of my money to pay for her money. She had been on SSI till my husband retired. I work for the railroad and was getting close to $700 a month then when my husband started to receive his social security money I started to get 1,200 till they put our daughter on it and they she got half..I lost half. I don’t understand….

    • Hi Barbara. When a parent gets Social Security retirement or disability benefits, his or her disabled adult child also may get benefits. Disabled adult children also can get benefits when a parent dies. The disabled adult child is eligible for 50% of the parent’s full benefit if the parent is retired or disabled, and 75% if the parent is deceased. However, if there are additional beneficiaries on the record such as a spouse, the Social Security benefits may be subject to a “family maximum”. Unfortunately, but for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this venue to determine if that is the case in your situation. We encourage you to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

  43. Good evening. I watch the video this morning about 2:00 o’clock in the morning about VA, I was about to ask about my stolen US Soc. Sec. Card because that is my Permanent Card Number when I work in USA 1981 and I did not change my name and I have my own email address. I have two sisters from the 2nd husband of my mother, their name was Elena Dulay born Feb.15/1948 and Teacher where she sponsored us to come to NZ and my ex husband passaway I have here his Death Cert. and I have two adult son now. They are both singles and studying. My “Medicare A’ was already expired since I turn 65 yrs old last 2015 and I did not received retirement check. I also have another youngest sister Adelaida Seekopp Whermke but she is already widow and German citizen w/her one daughter and a grandkids. we never seen her for ages. I hope, for such a long time losses might be recover as I will watch again the next video, and I said to the lady I will call back, I spoke to her thru tel. con. this day when I watch the video of Mr.Robert Wilkie. OK thank you and have a wonderful day.

  44. This is Aung Shwe.I get testicular cancer.I two years medical treatment after i stay out of united state myanmar. I can not walk.always is lying bed.i have alone.nobody help. I marriage .not legally.
    No wedding.They stop my benefit.i going to medical treadment.please help for right answer.
    last four digit social security 1085
    Address
    Kamar yut township
    Best wishes
    Aung Shwe myanmar

  45. It would be nice if this presentation used the “Keep It Simple” (KISS) approach. A simple summary at the beginning with complex explanations later. And have a non-lawyer do it.

    I’m a CPA with over 50 years experience. I found this presentation very confusing. Social Security is significant part of my discussions with tax clients.

    I’ll redo it for you if you would like.

  46. Is there a service available whereby I ask a question about spousal benefits that have been previously applied for and are currently being paid ?

  47. I work full-time but my partner is on SSDI. Neither of us have reached retirement age as we are each only 58 years old. How will us getting married affect his SSDI benefits?

  48. My spouse’s social security is approx 1,393.00
    My social security is approx 1,263.00

    He has cancer and I am trying to figure out my living arrangements upon his death. We have no savings.
    Can you give me an idea for planning on how much of a survivor amount I will be eligible for?

    • Hi Dianna, thank you for your question. Your survivors benefit will be based on the amount your husband was receiving. The percentage of that amount that you would receive depends on how old you are when you file as a widow. We are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either record, meaning you don’t get both retirement and widow(er)s benefits but the higher of the two.

      Widows benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widows benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner to more details.

  49. Please explain how SS calculates the following situation:

    Husband on disability. with SS. Wife on government pension at age 60.

    Husband passes away & wife learns she is entitled to SS widows allowance from SS.

    How is this calculated ? Government offset is not clear on the percentage and on what figure is used for it.
    Your input to on this will be greatly appreciated.

  50. I turned 62 before Jan 2, 2016 and took my retirement early at age 62. My husband began taking his retirement benefits at 66 also turning 66 before Jan 2, 2016. I was told at the time that I could apply for his benefits at the time, but my benefits would be at a reduced rate for the rest of my life, so I said no. I decided to take mine at a reduced rate since I could apply for 50% of his when I turned 66. Now since I am turning 66 and the law now reads that when you apply for you are deemed to apply for both your spouses and your own. Am I going to have a problem refiling to receive 50% of my spouses retirement. My understanding at the time was that I would always continue to get mine, but I would at age 66 receive another check to make my amount be 50% of my husbands. Thanking you ahead for your response, since I have not been able to find this situation and question answered.

    • Hi Linda, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, because you applied for your own retirement benefit early, you are not eligible for half of your spouse’s benefit at your full retirement age.

      For example, if a worker’s full retirement benefit amount is $1,100, the spousal benefit is 50 percent of that, or $550. However, if that spouse is eligible for a full retirement benefit on their own record of $400, then their actual spouse’s benefit would be an additional $150 which equals that 50 percent. If that spouse filed early for retirement, that $400 would be reduced. If they later file for the spousal benefit at their full retirement age, they would receive the full $150 but their total benefit would not be half because of that early retirement benefit.

  51. Buenas tardes
    Quisiera informarme que pasa cuando un jubilado de social security fallece y su cónyuge vive en otro país que se debe hacer para la presentación de documentos y reclamación de los beneficios a que tiene derecho el mismo y que documentos son requeridos por la entidad y a que dirección o correo electrónico se deben enviar.

    Gracias por su amable atención y colaboración

    • Hi Gloria. We are very sorry for your loss. If you already receive benefits as a spouse, under your husband’s record, your benefit will automatically convert to widow’s benefits after we receive the report of death. Typically, the funeral director notifies us of an individual’s passing by contacting the local Social Security office.

      If you are receiving retirement benefits on your own record, you can only apply for benefits as a widow if your retirement benefit amount is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor.

      You cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online. If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit your local Social Security office.

  52. JUst not clear enough to understand. I have been informed that my spouse will receive an amount that is 50% (half) of what I will receive. This article confuses me so now I don’t know what will happen when I request retirement for me and my wife next year (both will be 66yr old, full retirement age).

    • Hello Carl. Your are correct! Your spouse’s benefit can be equal to one-half of your full retirement amount if you started receiving the benefits at your full retirement age. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for.
      Also, if someone is eligible for both, his or her own benefit (from working) and for benefits as a spouse, we will always pay their own benefit first. If their spousal benefits are higher than their own retirement benefits, he or she will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit.

      Please visit our Retirement Planner: Benefits For Your Spouse for more information.
      To see if you qualify for a higher benefit than what you are currently receiving, call our toll free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you. Or contact your local Social Security office directly. Thanks!

  53. My husband who turned 65 May 2018 lives in another State we are not divorced and he is receiving Social Security. How do I apply for his benefits I am 63. Is it based on my age as well? I don’t know where to begin.

    • Thanks for the question, Bonita. Your benefit as a spouse can be equal to one-half of your husband’s full retirement amount only if you start receiving those benefits at your full retirement age. If you begin to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to your full retirement age, your benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits you qualify for once you opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to your full retirement age.

      Remember, if you qualify for your own retirement 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 retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit.

      See our Retirement Planner for more information. Also, to compute the effect on your benefit amount if you file for early retirement as well as to compute the effect on your spouse’s benefits if you file for early retirement, check out our Early or Late Retirement Calculator and our Benefits for Spouses Calculator.

  54. I was married to my first spouse for nearley 30 years. He asked for a divorce. He remarried right after the divorce. I understand Im entitled to some of his retirement at age 62? Also I wanted to know if got remarried before 62 would I still be entitled to his benefits, if so what are the benefits I would be entitled to? And when do I apply for these benefits?

    • Hello Marjorie. We will always pay your own retirement benefit first. If your benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit. However, the divorced spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your ex-husband’s full retirement amount (not his reduced benefit amount). So, you can only receive additional divorced spouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not your reduced benefit) is less than half of your ex-husband’s full retirement benefit.

      See “If I get married, will it affect my benefits” for additional details on getting married.

  55. Recently my Wife Anne M. Mc Laughlin ( *** – ** – *** ) passed away on 12/31/2018. I know I have an up coming meeting in March of 2019 at a SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE IN MIAMI BEACH , FL to file for spousal / survivor benefits., BUT I HAVE lost the letter with the location & day, date , & time of the meeting.
    Can you please re mail it to me ? Or E mail it to me ? Thank you, John H. Mc Laughlin , 7601 East Treasure Drive, Apt # 507 , North Bay Village, FL 33141 – 4300

    • We are very sorry for your loss, John. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to the appointment calendar in this blog and cannot assist you.

      To inquire about your appointment, you can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  56. My ex wife has died and I have remarried. My age is 83 years old. Am I eligible for part of my ex’s social security.

  57. This article is at best confusing and does not provide a clear picture of “Understanding Spouse’s benefits”. I/we came away from this article with more questions and confusion than answers.
    now Searching for a more comprehensive and straight-forward article or chart that allows us to clearly navigate the SS path. When will the GOV learn to provide information in clear, concise and easily consumable language. Knowing is one thing, teaching and communicating what you know is an entirely different art form.

  58. I am 63,ive been getting benifits since 1980.IM disabled.my wife gets socail security and shes 4 months younger than me.but i get a lot more than my wife,but when i die im woried,her little check wont take care of her.will she or can she drop her socail security and draw mine.?

    • Hi Rodney, thank you for your question. Your wife’s survivor amount would be based on your earnings. The more you paid into Social Security, the higher her benefit will be. If you are already receiving benefits when you die, survivors benefits are based on that amount. The percentage of that amount that your wife would receive depends on how old she is when she files as a widow. We are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either record, meaning she won’t get both retirement and widows benefits but the higher of the two.

      Widows benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widowers benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner to look at how your family members are protected if you die.

    • Hi, Evelyn. If he is not working or working under the annual earnings limit, he may be eligible. Keep in mind, his benefit as a spouse can be equal to one-half of your full retirement amount only if he starts receiving those benefits at his full retirement age. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age. He may still be eligible to collect reduced benefits on your record. Remember, if he qualifies for his own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay his own benefits first. If his benefits as a spouse are higher than his own retirement benefits, he will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For Your Spouse for more information. For specific questions about his case, he can contact his local office or he may call our toll-free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and ask a representative to assist him. We hope this helps.

    • Hi, Charles. We are sorry for your loss. The amount of your widower’s benefit is based on several factors, including: the earnings of your wife, when she started receiving her benefits, your age, and the amount of your own retirement benefit. We compare your own benefit with your potential survivor benefit. If your survivor benefit would be higher than your own current retirement benefit, you would be eligible for survivor benefits. You can also learn more information on our Survivors Benefits web page. You can also visit our page, Benefits Planner: If You Are The Survivor, at http://ow.ly/NKlt30dKCjT for more information. For specific questions about your case, your can contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. We hope this helps!

  59. I don’t know who wrote this but it is simply unintelligible. It comes across as if someone had arbitrarily cut and pasted pieces and parts of administrative instruction and the dumped them on the page and hoped for the best.

    Fail!

  60. What happened if you’re retired your husband died in you receiving social security fro your decied husband you remarried you can still receiving your husband social security benefits

    • Hi, Ghislane. If you remarry before you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married. If you remarry after you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you will continue to qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse’s Social Security record. If your new spouse is a Social Security beneficiary, you may want to apply for spouse’s benefits on that record. If that amount is higher, you may be entitled to the higher amount, based on both records. For more information on remarrying and its effect on your survivor benefits, please visit our Survivors Benefit Planner. We hope this helps.

  61. I would like to thank the SSA and all the replies . Reading was educational and enlightening. On final note if anyone doesn’t understand the info contact a SSA rep.

  62. My spouse (wife) passed away July 30, 2018. Am I (husband) entitiiled to any/partial benefits from her social security account.

  63. If a child receives a portion of her father’s SS Pension
    until she reaches the age of 18 will the spouse start receiving the SS Pension after?

  64. still dont understand, they need to make rule easier to understand, i started receiving benefits at age 62 and am 3 yrs older than my wife, she started receiving benefits at 62, my benefit is 500.00 more a month so if i die before her will she receive the higher amount.

    • Hi Andrew, thank you for your question. Your wife’s survivor amount would be based on your earnings. The more you paid into Social Security, the higher her benefit will be. If you are already receiving benefits when you die, survivors benefits are based on that amount. The percentage of that amount that your wife would receive depends on how old she is when she files as a widow. We are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from either record, meaning she won’t get both retirement and widows benefits but the higher of the two.

      Widows benefit are payable as early as age 60 (for a reduced benefit) or a full widows benefit at full retirement age or older.

      Use our Survivors Planner to look at how your family members are protected if you die.

  65. I will be 67 in March. My spouse will be 67 in February. Some people our age say that together they get one spouse’s social security payment and half of the other spouse’s payment. How does that work? My spouse and I are both still working.

  66. Does everyone know that the SS office posts your ENTIRE SS # on U.S. Postal mail ? An item from them was delivered in my mailbox last week and ripped open to expose the ENTIRE SS #. I cannot even believe with all of the fraud that SS of all places, would even still do this ! Now I have had to place a fraud alert on everything. This needs to stop !

  67. my spouse has a higher monthly benefit and I would like to receive the 50% of his which would be higher than my total monthly amount. How do I do this? There is always a long wait on the phone line for information at social security.

    • Hi, Linda. If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on that record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on that record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. Find more information at our “Retirement Planner: Benefits for Your Spouse.” For more specific information, contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. You can also contact your local office. You can also click “Get Help” in your personal my Social Security account to “Ask a Question”. Click “Talk to an Expert” for a call back. We hope this helps.

  68. If my spouse started receiving SS Retirement Benefits at age 62, does that mean when I (His spouse) turn 62, I, who don’t qualify for my own benefits due to being a stay at home mom, will not be eligible for any spousal benefits even after I turn 62?

    • Hi Cheryl, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. For you to qualify for spouse’s benefits on your husband’s record, you must be 62 years old or older and your husband must also file. If you qualify for your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefits first. If benefits as a spouse are higher than her your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. Visit our Retirement Planner: Spouse’s Benefits for more information.

  69. I’m following up on my disability appeal, pls advise status, it’s been almost 10 months since it was submitted.
    Thank you
    Mary S Amiri/AKA Shenorik Mary Amiri #*** – ** – ***
    Your response will be appreciated.

  70. my husband passed away 12-5-2018 I went to ss on 1-10-2019 to apply for his 255.00 have not received it what s taking so long

    • We are sorry for your loss, Connie. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community continue to work with our offices with specific questions about their case. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Or you can contact your local office. We hope this is resolved soon.

  71. This is a question not a comment. My ex-husband was killed in a car accident November 3, 2018. Our daughter just turned 18 she has cerebral palsy. Would I be able to get ex-spouse benefits? We were married for 6 years. Although after we divorced we remained together up until his passing. Also would our daughter be able to get his benefits?

    • We are very sorry for your loss, Nancy. Your daughter may be eligible for survivor benefits if her father earned enough Social Security credits through his work. A child with a disability age 18 or older may get Social Security benefits when a parent gets retirement or disability benefits or passes away. The child’s disability must have begun before age 22.

      In addition, you may be eligible for benefits as well. If you are caring for a child under age 16 or disabled and the child gets benefits on the record of your former spouse, you would not have to meet the ten year duration of marriage rule. The child must be your former spouse’s natural or legally adopted child. Check out our Survivors Planner for more details on surviving divorced spouse’s benefits.

      To inquire about potential benefits, you will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  72. Exactly how does the reduction rate for spousal benefits work? My spouse started retirement benefits at 62. I will reach FRA in 2 yrs and 2 mos. How can I calculate what my spouse’s spousal benefit would be if I start receiving retirement benefits at FRA?

    • Hi Phoebus, thank you for reading our blog post. We will always pay a person’s own retirement benefit first. If their benefits as a spouse are higher than their own retirement benefits, they will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, keep in mind that a spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of the worker’s full retirement amount (not their reduced benefit amount). So, a person is only going to receive additional spouse’s benefits if their own full retirement benefit (not their reduced benefit) is less than half of their spouse’s full retirement benefit.

      For example, if a worker’s full retirement benefit amount is $1,100, the spousal benefit is 50 percent of that, or $550. However, if that spouse is eligible for a full retirement benefit on their own record of $400, then their actual spouse’s benefit would be an additional $150 which equals that 50 percent. If the spouse waited until their full retirement age to file, they would receive one payment of $550, even though $400 was from their own retirement record and $150 was from their spouse’s record. Benefits are reduced if the individual files prior to their full retirement age.

  73. My spouse died on July 31, 2018. Michael E. Janicki. My name is Audrey A. Janicki, To date I have not received notification of Widow’s benefits for me. Have not received burial allowance, nor adjusted monthly payment, Have made numerous calls as well as filled out form sent after his death.

    • Thank you for contacting us, Audrey. We are very sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      To inquire on the status of your benefits, you will have to contact your local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  74. I am still working and I will be taking SS at full retirement age (66 and 2 months) in 2 years. My wife has been taking SS since age 62. She is 5 months older than me. What are my options when choosing spousal benefits?

    • Thanks for your question, Mike. If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record, we pay that amount first. If the benefit on your spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on that record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. Find more information at our Benefits Planner: Benefits for Your Spouse. For additional assistance, contact us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. You can also contact your local office. We hope this helps.

  75. I would like to increase my deduction from 15% to 20%

    Bruce R. Sharek
    339 Siena Vista Place
    Sun City Center FL 33573
    813.938.5566
    *** – ** – ***

  76. I am still confused. I began receiving benefits at 62. My husband did not receive benefits until later. So there was no known amount at the time I began to ask for spousal benefits as my spouse was not yet receiving benefits. I am now 69 and he is 72. Can I apply for spousal benefits or am I excluded from spousal benefits because I filed early.

    • Hi, Geraldine. If a person begins to receive benefits at age 62 or prior to their full retirement age, their benefits are reduced. The reduction factors are permanently applied to all of the benefits the person may qualify for once they opt to start benefits at age 62 or at any time prior to their full retirement age. You may still be eligible to collect reduced benefits on your spouse’s record. Remember, if you qualify for your own retirement 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 retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. See our Retirement Planner: Benefits For You As A Spouse for more information. To see if you qualify for a higher benefit than what you are currently receiving, contact your local office or you may call our toll-free telephone number at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and ask a representative to assist you. We hope this helps.

  77. Providing a simple example to accompany your explanation would be very helpful. There is much information and the repeated use of the word, “spouse” is somewhat confusing.
    I appreciate receiving your notices.

  78. a. This year my SS benefit will be 40.57% of my husband’s SS benefit. My benefit is based solely on my husband’s benefit.
    Question: If my husband passes away (let’s say mid-year) before I pass away, how much will I receive based on my husband’s benefit?
    (I thought it would be increased from the amount I currently receive to an amount equal to 100% of his benefit.)
    Your explanation talks about different situations, but it only confused me.

  79. My birthday is 3/8/52 husband age 66. My wife was born 8/25/54 age 64. We are both still working but considering retiring this year. If my wife starts collecting SS at 66 and I hold off until 70 for example can I collect 50% of hers ~9k? If I wait until age 70 to receive SS about what age would I break even? I will receive ~30k now and 36k at 70. I may consider 4/5 years but 8/9 years is a bit long.

  80. My wife took early retirement at 62. I am filing for disability at age 59. Just received a letter stating they are changing her ss payment date from the 4th Wed, of every month to a payment on the 1st of the month. Does this have anything to do with my disability paper work?

  81. Hello,
    If my spouse is not a U.S. citizen, but we are legally married in the United States, is she eligible for partial benefits based on my retirement benefit?

    Thank you,
    Eric

  82. I am 68 yrs old, still employed and not taking SS benefits at this time. My wife is 65, retired, and started taking SS benefits at 63. When can my wife start taking spousal benefits? DO I have to retire 1st before becoming eligible, or is she only able to claim spousal benefits if I die?

  83. Hello
    Unable to wait on the phone for a response.but do need help with my husband ‘s benefits. My social security number is 6272’
    Please call 936245.2512.
    Or suggestions
    Veronica margot weaver

  84. I want to start drawing my benefits at age 62, my husband is still working and is going to retire at 65, but may wait until full retirement age of 66 years 2 months to receive his full benefit. Will my benefit change at that time to be half of his (half of his will be more than my reduced benefit)

  85. Question?
    Want to know more about collecting Spousal benefits.
    I am 62 and wondering if I can fill to collect from divorced spouses SS. He is 74 and collecting.
    Thank you
    Kim

  86. Buenas yo Flor de Maria Mobsalve para hacerles una pregunta es que el tres de febrero no me pagaron mi pensión que tengo que hacer graciad

  87. Ok my question is: My Husband who is age 59 is recieving social security disabilty. I am turning 62 and applying for my ss benefits. Am i able to apply for anything on his social security that would increase my benefit?

    • Hello Sue. We will always pay your own retirement benefit first. If your benefits as a spouse are higher than your own retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. However, the spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of your husband’s full disability amount. So, you can only receive additional spouse’s benefits if your own full retirement benefit (not your reduced benefit) is less than half of your husband’s full benefit.

      Generally, during the initial interview when applying for Social Security benefits, we typically explore all other benefits that could yield you a higher benefit amount.

  88. Wondering what happens when one of us dies? Can the other spouse, the widow or widower, then have some or all of the benefit received by the now dead spouse?

    We are currently both in retirement phase and receiving payments each month.

  89. I am an American citizen, receiving Social Security benefits and living in Leon, Mexico. My wife for 33 years turned 62 years old last November. I would like to claim spousal benefits for her on line. But, I was unable to complete the form to (register) open an account. A required field on the form required a home address. The form would not accept a Mexican address. Can you help me open an online account.

    • Hi Richard, thank you for your question. At this time you must have a U. S. mailing address to create or access your online account. The “my Social Security” authentication system requires address verification as one of the essential criteria for issuing an account. People with APO/FPO/DPO addresses can create an account overseas, but our system does not support registration and account creation for users with a foreign address yet.

      Even though you are unable to create a my Social Security account, you may still file your application online. You can apply online for retirement benefits if you:
      •are at least 61 years and 9 months old;
      •are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
      •have not already applied for retirement benefits; and
      •want your benefits to start no more than 4 months in the future. (We cannot process your application if you apply for benefits more than 4 months in advance.)

      We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefit Unit or U.S. embassy in the area for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad.

  90. My 66th birthday is on Nov 19th, 2019, and I am still working.
    I understand I can take my SS during my birth year (ie now) without penalty if I earn less than $46,920.

    Alternatively, can I take 50% of my ex-husband’s SS now, without penalty if I earn less than $46,920?

    Thank you

  91. Have been reading on this for 2 hours. Still confused. I am 70 yoa, divorced since 1980, also disabled when I was 54yoa. I worked and put my X thru college, and he worked for the State most of his life. And I know he earned a lot more than I did. I do not understand why I cannot receive part of his earnings, as I am listed as poverty level in my earnings. He is 72 yoa, and retired. Is there anything I can do to receive more earnings??? I am having a hard time. thank you

    • Hi Karen, thank you for reading our blog post. We will always pay a person’s own retirement benefit first. If their benefits as a divorced spouse are higher than their own retirement benefit, they will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher divorced spouse benefit. However, keep in mind that a divorced spouse’s benefit cannot exceed one-half of the worker’s full retirement amount (not their reduced benefit amount). So, a person is only going to receive additional divorced spouse’s benefits if their own full retirement benefit (not their reduced benefit) is less than half of their ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit (not their reduced benefit).

      To find out if you are eligible for a higher benefit amount, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or contact your local Social security office. Thanks!

  92. I’m 67 years old and I would like to receive my full benefits at age 70. I am married and my husband is retired and is 71 years old. My question is can I retire now and not draw from my benefits until I turn 70 can I draw from my husband’s Social Security at age 67 until I turn 70?

    • Hi Linda, thank you for your question. You may be able to get spouse’s benefits but, under existing law, if you are eligible for benefits both as a retired worker and as a spouse, you must apply for both benefits and you’ll receive the higher of the two benefits. This requirement is called “deemed filing” because when you apply for one benefit you are “deemed” to have also applied for the other.

      However, if you turn 62 before January 2, 2016, deemed filing rules will not apply if you wait to file at your full retirement age or later. This means that you may file for either your spouse’s benefit or your retirement benefit without being required or “deemed” to file for the other. See our Deemed Filing For Retirement And Spouse’s Benefits FAQs web page for details.

  93. We married Dec 19. 2018 and he packed up and left me Jan 27. 2019. I took early retirement and he just took retirement at age 65. I receive around $2,000/month and receives around $350/month. When I die, will he get part of my retirement? Would he receive ant of my retiremenr if I was able to get an annulment. Thank you?

  94. My spouse left the home after 30 years of marriage. I’m disabled and worked for 33 years, but not enough over the past 10 years for the SSDI credits. I’ve used my 401K and now I have no money. If I rent out a room in my home is it possible to receive monthly payments from SSI or would the $400/mo from a roommate interfere with this? Thank you

    • Hi Mari, thank you for the question. Because Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program that gives cash assistance to individuals who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled, with limited income and resources, we must know about all income to determine the proper payment amount.

      For specific questions regarding income, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or contact your local Social Security office .

  95. I’m 64 and took my own benefit early @ 62 because my husband decided to leave the marriage after 30 years.

    We never divorced

    He has now been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. He took benefits @ full retirement age 70….(Hes 10 years older than me).

    What does this mean to me when he passes?
    He says I get all of his FULL amount…and no longer mine…

    Is my deceased spousal amount reduced because I took mine early?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Ann, thank you for your question. The amount of your widows benefit is based on several factors, including: the earnings of the person who died, when the deceased worker started receiving their benefits, your age at the time of your spouse’s death, and the amount of your own retirement benefit. We compare your own benefit with your potential survivor benefit. If your survivor benefit would be higher than your own current retirement benefit at the time of your spouse’s passing, you would be eligible for survivor benefits.

      Typically, a widow or widower at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount, a widow or widower under full retirement age receives about 71 to 99 percent of the worker’s benefit amount, and a widow or widower with a child younger than age 16 receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. For more information about how much your benefit would be, visit our Survivors Planner.

    • Anthony, we are very sorry for your loss. If you already receive benefits as a spouse, under your spouse’s record, your benefit will automatically convert to a survivor benefit after we receive the report of death. Typically, the funeral director notifies us of an individual’s passing by contacting the local Social Security office.

      If you are receiving retirement benefits on your own record, you can only apply for benefits as a survivor if your retirement benefit amount is less than the benefits you would receive as a survivor.

      You cannot report a death or apply for survivors benefits online. If you need to report a death or apply for benefits, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). You can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also visit your local Social Security office.

  96. I am confused with the spouse benefit. My wife turned 66 (full retirement age) applied and started receiving her SS benefits. I turned 66 eight months later (full retirement age) and applied for SS. Now that I am drawing my full benefits, can she now apply for 50% of my benefits (mine is higher than hers)

    • Hi Harold, thank you for your question. The amount a widow(er) can receive is based on several factors, including: the earnings of the person who died, when the deceased worker started receiving their benefits, survivors age at the time of spouse’s death, and the amount of their own retirement benefit.

      If your wife became a widow, we would compare her own benefit with the potential survivor benefit. If the survivor benefit would be higher than her own, she would be eligible for the higher survivor benefit.

      Typically, a widow or widower at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount, a widow or widower under full retirement age receives about 71 to 99 percent of the worker’s benefit amount, and a widow or widower with a child younger than age 16 receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. For more information about how much your benefit would be, visit our Survivors Planner.

  97. I retired at age 63 and currently receive $1,950 a month. My wife retired at age 63 and receives around $1,000.00 a month. If I should die first how much would my wife receive in benefits. If my wife died first how much would I receive? Thank you so much for your assistance.

    • Hi Michael, thank you for your question. The amount of a widows benefit is based on several factors, including: the earnings of the person who died, when the deceased worker started receiving their benefits, the survivors age at the time of their spouse’s death, and the amount of one’s own retirement benefit. We will compare your own benefit with your potential survivor benefit. If your survivor benefit would be higher than your own current retirement benefit at the time of your spouse’s passing, you would be eligible for survivor benefits.

      Typically, a widow or widower at full (survivors) retirement age or older generally receives 100% of the deceased worker’s amount, a widow or widower under full retirement age receives about 71 to 99 percent of the worker’s benefit amount, and a widow or widower with a child younger than age 16 receives 75 percent of the worker’s benefit amount. For more information about how much your benefit would be, visit our Survivors Planner.

  98. Hello, my name is Mary Hogan. I’m disable and I am receiving disability compensation from what I have earn for working. My Ex-husband is presently receiving retirement benefit at the age of 65. We were married for 16 years. I am 60 years old and I have never remarried. I would like to know when I can receive benefits from my ex?

    • Hello Mary, thank you for your question.

      You can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record if:
      • You are age 62 or older;
      • You were legally married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years;
      • You are unmarried;
      • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and,
      • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.

      For more information, please visit our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced.

  99. If I apply for spousal benefits at age 63 when my Husband applies for his delayed benefits at age 68, will I qualify for his benefit amount ( The Survivor Benefit) if he dies before I do? Or will it be reduced because I first applied at 63?

  100. I am a widow and am receiving my late spouse’s social security which was full disability. He was 67 when he died. If I remarried, can I still collect it or do I lose it?

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