Navigating the maze of rules surrounding Social Security retirement benefits can be daunting. A good starting point for retirees and prospective retirees looking to better understand and maximize their retirement benefits is with the numerous resources on offer at the website of the Social Security Administration.
Still, after our recent article on maximizing benefits, readers continue to have questions about using affiliate benefits. Here are some answers:
My wife is 67, her full retirement age, and she has not yet filed for spousal support. I am 65. Can she claim spousal support from me before claiming my Social Security benefits? It would increase her monthly check by about $300. I’ve gotten differing opinions on this even when contacting the Social Security Administration.
Your current spouse cannot claim a partner’s pension until you have filed for Social Security.
Joel Eskovitz, director of Social Security and Savings at AARP’s Public Policy Institute, warns that it wouldn’t be a good idea to apply for benefits before full retirement age so that your wife can claim partner benefits unless absolutely necessary. is. If you do, your monthly Social Security benefit will be reduced by a small percentage for each month you claim before full retirement age. (Check how much your benefit will be reduced if you claim early.) But your wife’s partner allowance will not be reduced because she has already reached retirement age. Her partner’s benefit would be 50% of the benefit you would receive at full retirement age.
My wife was born in September 1952 and receives Social Security benefits that she earned as a result of her employment history.
I was born in October 1956 and have not yet applied to receive benefits. My advantages would be the greatest of ours. Is my wife entitled to a partner’s benefit, which would make her monthly benefit higher than what she currently receives?
Whether your wife is entitled to partner benefits depends on how much higher your income is than hers, Eskovitz says. If your wife is entitled to partner benefits, Social Security will not pay her the sum of her pension benefits and her partner benefits; instead, she receives the higher of the two benefits. Since the partner benefits cannot exceed 50% of the partner benefits, your income would have to be significantly higher to receive more of the partner benefits, Eskovitz says.
Also note that your wife cannot claim a partner’s pension until you first apply for Social Security (see answer above). In any case, Eskovitz advises that you wait until your full retirement age of 66 years and 4 months — before applying, if possible, and then asking the Social Security Administration if your wife can claim partner benefits.
Answers to frequently asked questions about spousal maintenance can be found on the Social Security website.
Corrections & Reinforcements
If a man claims Social Security benefits before full retirement age so that his wife who reaches full retirement age can claim a partner’s benefit, the man’s monthly benefit is reduced by a small percentage for each month before full retirement age . The woman’s benefit is not reduced in this case. An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that the man’s benefit would be reduced by approximately 8% per year and that the woman’s benefit would be reduced.
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