Social Security Q&A: Spousal benefits

Social Security Q&A: You may be entitled to as much as half of your spouse's benefit amount when you reach full retirement age.
Published: July 7, 2013
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Q: My spouse and I are both entitled to our own Social Security benefits. Will Social Security reduce our combined benefits because we are married?

A: No. When each member of a married couple works in employment covered under Social Security and both meet all other eligibility requirements to receive retirement benefits, we calculate their lifetime earnings independently to determine their benefit amounts.

Therefore, each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings.

If one spouse earned low wages or did not earn enough Social Security credits (40) to be insured for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse.

To learn more about retirement, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement.

If only the spouse works ... how much will I get?

Q: I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my benefits be?

A: You can be entitled to as much as one-half of your spouse's benefit amount when you reach full retirement age.

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