Even if you have never worked a day, you may be eligible Social benefits based on your husband’s or wife’s earnings. Or, if you worked but earned significantly less than your spouse, you could get a boost in your own social security checks.
While you are eligible to receive these payments as early as age 62, the age at which you claim your benefits will affect the amount you receive. As with most things, timing is everything when it comes to social security.
Social Security Spouse Services: A Primer
Spouse benefits from social security date back to the 1930s, designed to provide support to women who were dependent on their husbands for financial support. As the modern household has developed into a family with two incomes, both spouses are often entitled to social security based on their own work, but the system has not left the low-paid spouse.
You can receive spouse benefits if you are at least 62 years old and your spouse receives pension or disability benefits from Social Security. You are also entitled to benefits, regardless of age, if you are caring for a child under the age of 16 or for an adult child who was disabled before the age of 22.
When to apply for benefits
At full retirement age, the spouse benefit to which you are entitled is 50% of the benefit for the highest-earning spouse. If the social security you earned is $ 900 and your spouse receives $ 2,000, you will receive an additional $ 100 per month in spousal benefits to bring your payment to $ 1,000 – or 50% of your spouse’s. If your own social security earnings exceed the amount of 50%, you will not receive a spouse benefit.
However, the size of the spouse benefit you receive depends on the age at which you apply for social security, and there are two benchmarks: age 62 and 67, which is the full retirement age for workers born after 1954.
If you apply at age 67, you will receive the full 50% of your spouse’s Social Security payment. If you apply as a 62-year-old, you will receive 32.5% of the spouse benefit. The amount increases on a sliding scale until you reach the 50% amount at the age of 67. The Social Security Administration has a calculator to specify the percentage you want to receive by entering your date of birth and the month and year you want to receive benefits.
“It’s easy to take the money and run as soon as you are eligible, usually when you’re 62,” he said Lyle Solomon, a financial expert and consumer bankruptcy attorney in California. “You have definitely paid into the system your entire working life and are now ready to charge your benefits. It’s also great to have a monthly income guarantee. ”
But should you apply for benefits?
“Three main characteristics that can affect when you collect Social Security benefits are your health, longevity and retirement lifestyle,” Solomon said.
The disadvantages of applying at the age of 62
“In general, if someone is in good health and can pay monthly bills, it makes the most economic sense to postpone social security for as long as possible,” said Paul Tyler, chief marketing officer for Nassau Financial Group in Hartford, Conn.
Each month between the ages of 62 and 67, which you can expect, increases your eventual benefit.
“One of the best ways to maximize social security benefits is to make the most of your spouse’s benefits,” said Chuck Czajka, a certified social security strategist and founder of Macro money concepts in Stuart, Florida.
“Taking out early spouse benefits can significantly affect the benefits. A spouse can receive benefits as early as age 62, but it will result in a permanent reduction in benefits forever.”
Additionally, Czajka said, drawing on your benefits reduces the amount of money you can earn. If you are 62, healthy and still enjoying your work, it may pay to wait for your benefits. Your spouse’s benefits will be reduced if your job gives you more than $ 19,650 a year before you reach full retirement age.
“One thing to consider is that if you are still working as a 62-year-old, your benefits will be reduced and the benefits will be withheld $ 1 for every $ 2 you earn over $ 19,560,” Czajka said. “This can mean thousands of dollars over the course of your life.”
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This article was originally published on GOBankingRates.com: How an early social security requirement will affect spouses’ benefits