Social Security spousal benefits are payments made to the spouse of a worker who is currently receiving or is eligible to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits. Spousal benefits are designed to provide additional financial support to the spouse who may not have worked or earned as much as the primary worker.
To be eligible for spousal benefits, the spouse must be at least 62 years old and either married to the primary worker for at least one year, or caring for a child who is under the age of 16 or disabled. Additionally, the primary worker must be receiving or eligible to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
The amount of spousal benefits that a spouse is eligible to receive depends on various factors, such as the primary worker’s earnings history and the age of the spouse. Generally, the spousal benefit is equal to up to 50% of the primary worker’s benefit amount.
Spousal benefits are typically paid on a monthly basis and can continue until the spouse passes away or no longer meets the eligibility requirements. It’s worth noting that if the spouse begins receiving spousal benefits before their full retirement age, their benefit amount may be reduced.
If you are a spouse of a worker who is currently receiving or is eligible to receive Social Security benefits, it’s recommended that you contact the Social Security Administration directly to learn more about your eligibility for spousal benefits. They can provide you with personalized information and guidance based on your specific situation.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding Social Security spousal benefits:
Q: Can a divorced spouse receive spousal benefits? A: Yes, a divorced spouse who was married to the primary worker for at least 10 years and meets certain other eligibility criteria may be eligible for spousal benefits.
Q: Can a spouse receive spousal benefits and their own retirement benefits at the same time?
A: Yes, a spouse may be eligible to receive both their own retirement benefits and spousal benefits. However, the total amount of benefits that the spouse receives cannot exceed the higher of the two benefits.
Q: Can a spouse receive spousal benefits if they never worked?
A: Yes, a spouse who never worked or earned very little during their working years may still be eligible for spousal benefits.
Q: Can a spouse receive spousal benefits if the primary worker has not yet claimed their own benefits?
A: Yes, a spouse may still be eligible for spousal benefits even if the primary worker has not yet claimed their own benefits, as long as the primary worker is eligible to receive benefits.
Q: Are spousal benefits taxable?
A: Spousal benefits may be subject to federal income taxes, depending on the recipient’s total income. State taxes may also apply in some cases.
Q: Can a same-sex spouse receive spousal benefits?
A: Yes, same-sex spouses are eligible for spousal benefits as long as they meet the same eligibility criteria as opposite-sex spouses.
Q: Can a widow or widower receive spousal benefits?
A: No, a widow or widower is not eligible for spousal benefits, but rather for survivor benefits. However, if the survivor benefit is less than the spousal benefit, the survivor may receive the difference as a combined benefit.