Social Security Issues – A Confused Married Couple About Social Security Benefits


by Russell Gloor, AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor

Association of American Mature Citizens

Ask Rusty – A Confused Married Couple About Social Security Benefits

Dear Rusty, We are a bit confused about husband and wife social security benefits. I am 63 years old (born in 1955) and still work full time. My wife is 60 this month. She is retired from the army and has been working in the civilian sector for several years now. She has always won more than me. We do not know how the social security payments between us will work. I know I will start collecting before her. Can you help with an explanation?
Signed: Confused

Dear confused:
Social security benefits for married couples can be confusing, especially if you are still working together. If your wife has always had higher incomes, you could potentially qualify for a spousal benefit from her criminal record, but only if the amount of your own benefits at your retirement age (FRA) is less than 50% of the amount of your wife's benefits to her FRA.

Since you say that you will claim social security before your higher-income spouse, any spouse benefits to which you may be entitled will only be effective when your wife begins to benefit. To be clear, a spousal benefit is only due if this amount is greater than what you are entitled to in your own work record; otherwise, you only get your own benefits. If a spousal benefit is owed, what happens is essentially that you get your own social security benefit, plus a "spurt-up" to get you to what you're entitled to as a spouse. The spousal benefit can be 50% of the highest employee's FRA amount (if it is greater than yours), but you get the full 50% if it starts at your retirement age; otherwise, it's less than 50%. This is because each time a social security benefit is taken before your FRA, it is actuarially reduced according to the number of months preceding your FRA.

If you (or your wife) receive social security benefits before you reach retirement age and continue working, you will be subject to an annual income limit ($ 17,640 for 2019) that if exceeded, will cause SS to retain equal benefits. to $ 1 for every $ 2 you have exceeded the limit. Since they do not withhold partial benefits, it could mean months without benefits. This is true until the year you reach your retirement age when the income limit increases by more than 2.5 times and the penalty is lower ($ 1 for every $ 3 per year). above the limit). Then, once you reach the age of retirement, there will be no limit to the amount you can earn by receiving benefits. And for clarity, if you have taken benefits because you are over your earnings limit, you will receive a time credit for the months when you reach your retirement age, which will increase the amount of your earnings somewhat. benefits to your FRA. Thus, your work and compensation plans must be taken into account when deciding when you both need to claim your SS benefits.

In summary, if both of you have earned at least 40 SS credits, you are both entitled to your own social security benefit. If half of your woman's SS benefits at her retirement age are greater than your own retirement benefits, you will also receive a bride allowance equal to the difference. But if either of you asks for benefits earlier, they will be reduced, and if your spousal benefit starts before your FRA, it will be reduced as well. And remember that working before retirement age will subject you to the annual Social Security income limit.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not represent legal or financial advice. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the staff of the AMAC Foundation, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). The NSSA, the AMAC Foundation and its staff are neither affiliated nor endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other government entity. To ask a question, visit our website or E-mail we.

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