Social Security Benefits for Married Couples

Being married can have financial benefits when it comes to social security. There are many factors to consider before applying for Social Security benefits. Married people can use different strategies to increase their benefits by timing their claims with each other. Your marital status is important to SSA because you may be eligible for higher payments based on your spouse’s employment and income. Understanding the full range of benefits you are eligible for will allow you to get the most out of your monthly payments.

Maximize your spouse’s social security benefits

Did you know that in addition to claiming their income record, a married person can also request their spouse’s income record? For people who did not work during their marriage or those with low income, this marital benefit can be up to 50 percent of the highest income benefits. For families looking to increase their payments, this is a great place to start.

Please note that claiming your pension early may result in a 25% reduction in your total benefit, even with your marital benefit included! It’s important to wait as close to retirement age as possible to ensure you get the most out of your Social Security payments. Any agent at a local Social Security office will be able to help you maximize your benefits and what you are entitled to.

Same sex couples

With the passage of Obergefell v Hodges, same-sex couples can marry no matter what state they live in. Same-sex couples who are married are eligible for Social Security benefits and Supplemental Pension Income (SSI) payments. Same-sex married couples can claim the same social security benefits as non-same-sex couples, including retirement benefits, disability benefits, and survivor benefits. Unmarried couples, same or opposite sex, are treated as individuals. However, there are some non-marital relationships that still receive benefits, similar to marriage. Some of these non-marital relationships include civil partnerships, partnerships, designated beneficiaries, and mutual beneficiaries.

How Changes in Marriage Affect Social Security

People receiving Social Security benefits often have changes in their marriage that affect their income. If your spouse dies or divorces, you understand that she is legally entitled to any social security benefits that person may have. Updating your Social Security record is your responsibility, even if you receive a simple name change! When applying for Social Security benefits, it’s important not to let mistakes like this affect your chances of getting your benefits.

Death of a spouse

The survivor benefit provides a way to transfer the social security benefits of a deceased person. If your spouse is deceased, you may be entitled to a higher survivor benefit based on her income. Even in case of divorce, if no one has claimed the benefits, they are available to the widow or widower. Widows and widowers have full access to social security benefits at age 66 and can receive partial benefits earlier. Children under the age of 18 are also eligible.


If a couple has been married for 10 years or more, the spouses can receive benefits based on the former spouse’s income if they are 62 and unmarried at the time of application. If you have remarried, you cannot claim benefits from your former spouse unless your current marriage has ended. Your benefits as a divorced spouse are 50% of the total pension amount if you start receiving benefits at full retirement age (FRA). Benefits do not include any delayed retirement credit.

New marriage

If you are remarrying, there may be some changes to your social security, disability, and retirement benefits. If you receive SSI benefits, your spouse’s income may change your income. If you both receive SSI benefits, your benefit amount will change from an individual rate to a couple rate. If you currently receive benefits as widowed or divorced, you do not receive benefits if you remarry before age 60.

For disability benefits, the limit to remarry is 50 years. If you remarry before that age, you will not receive survivor benefits unless the marriage ends. If the marriage ends, you may be eligible for or recover benefits. Generally, if you receive benefits from your divorced spouse and remarry, your benefits stop.

New my married name

If you are going to legally change your name when you get married, you will need to change the name on your Social Security card. You must tell her employer her new name so she can track her earnings and add it to her Social Security record. This is part of taking care of your Social Security record, so you don’t have any delays before you receive your benefits when you retire.

Frequently asked questions

What is the spouse’s social security allowance?

Marital social security benefits arise from wage differences when in a legal relationship. The lowest earner is entitled to a portion of the spouse’s income record. This benefit can be up to 50 percent of her total pension payment.

When can I receive spousal benefits?

It is incredibly important to wait until age 62 to apply for any retirement benefits. Early application for benefits may lead to a 25% reduction in the total payment, and this includes any marital benefits that have been claimed.

How do I qualify for marital benefits?

Qualification for marital benefits is determined by your and your spouse’s earnings record. Those with lower incomes will be entitled to social security benefits once they reach that age.

When can a spouse apply for marital benefits?

There are many cases where spouses can claim benefits on their marital income record. Some people choose to do this if they become disabled and cannot work. These benefits can be claimed at age 50 and added to any current Social Security income they may receive.

Can I use my spouse’s social security benefits?

Yes. If your spouse has claimed Social Security benefits for himself, when she reaches full retirement age of 62, she will be able to claim a portion of the benefits based on her personal income.