Seven Social Security Spousal Benefits Everyone Should Know

The advantages of marriage extend beyond love and friendship. In certain circumstances, marriage might increase Social Security benefits. If you remain married for at least ten years, these benefits may survive a divorce.

However, the laws regarding marriage and Social Security have become complex. Here are seven facts married couples and anyone who has been married cannot afford to be ignorant of.

You do not receive more Social Security payments just because you are married. Fewer than 4% of beneficiaries of Social Security get spousal benefits. The vast majority of individuals will benefit most by filing claims on their records.

However, suppose your work experience is short, and you marry a spouse who earns much more than you. In that case, you may be eligible for increased Social Security payments by claiming spousal benefits. Here is how it operates.

You may get up to 50 percent of your spouse’s total payout.

The maximum spousal benefit is equal to fifty percent of your spouse’s benefit. They will be eligible for this benefit after they reach full retirement age, which is 67 for everyone born after 1960.

If you begin receiving benefits before retirement, you will get less than 50%. For instance, if you begin receiving Social Security payments at the earliest age of 62, you would only get 32.5% of your original amount. You cannot receive both perks.

Unfortunately, the advantages of marriage do not include double-dipping. Social Security will provide you either your or your spouse’s benefit, whichever is greater, but not both.

Social Security will theoretically use your own record if you are eligible for benefits based on your earnings history. Then, they will utilize your spouse’s data to maximize your profit.

There is no additional credit for couples waiting for the full retirement age.

When taking Social Security benefits on your record, you will get the full amount at age 70. Due to delayed retirement credits, you can increase your Social Security benefits by 8% for life for each year you postpone collecting.

However, if you are receiving spousal benefits, you are not eligible for delayed retirement payments; when you reach FRA (full retirement age), which is 67 for everyone born after 1959, your benefits will reach their maximum level.

You cannot claim a Social Security disability for your spouse.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is only available to those who have contributed to Social Security and have a qualifying medical condition. You cannot claim incapacity on the record of another individual, even your spouse.


It is still possible that you will qualify for their benefits. Having been married for at least ten years and divorced for at least two years, you can receive your ex’s Social Security benefits. The usual marital rules apply: Your maximum benefit equals fifty percent of your principal amount. Benefits from Social Security are reduced if you claim them before the full retirement age, and you will not collect delayed retirement credits for waiting past your full retirement age.

Before you can file a claim on your ex-spouse’s record, he or she must be 62 years old. Your choice will have no influence whatsoever on your ex-spouse. Similarly, if a former spouse applies for Social Security on your record, your payments will not be lowered.

If you have remarried, you cannot get your ex-benefits. 

Once you remarry, you cannot collect your ex-spouse’s Social Security. But after one year of marriage, you are eligible for benefits on your spouse’s record. Suppose you’ve had many marriages that lasted at least ten years and ended in divorce. In that case, Social Security will evaluate everyone’s records—yours and each ex-spouse’s and award you the most amount possible.

Survivor benefit

The maximum survivor benefit is equal to the departed spouse’s payout.

If you wait until your fra and your spouse die before you, you can qualify for up to 100 percent of their Social Security payments through survivor benefits. You can begin receiving survivor benefits at age 60 (or 50 if you are handicapped), but the amount will be reduced. These rules also apply to former spouses, providing the marriage lasted at least ten years. As with spouse benefits, you will get either your benefit or the survivor benefit, whichever is greater, but not both.

There is, however, an exemption to the remarriage restriction for surviving spouses: Widows and ex-spouses eligible for survivor benefits can remarry at age 60 (or 50 if handicapped) and continue to receive their deceased spouse’s benefits.