HomeMarket NewsUnraveling the Mystery of Spousal Social Security Benefits Before Retirement

Unraveling the Mystery of Spousal Social Security Benefits Before Retirement

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Understanding Social Security retirement benefits can feel like solving a Rubik’s Cube – complex, frustrating, yet potentially rewarding. While factors like age and work history certainly play a role, the impact of marital status can’t be overlooked, potentially adding substantial dollars to your monthly payouts.

Two people looking at a laptop and documents.

Image source: Getty Images.

Rule #1: Not All Marriages Are Created Equal in the Eyes of Social Security

Eligibility for spousal benefits hinges on your spouse’s qualifications for retirement or disability benefits. Income could also be a determining factor, influencing both your eligibility and payout amount. Surprisingly, you may receive spousal benefits even if you are not eligible for retirement benefits based on your own work record. Yet, if your personal retirement benefits exceed 50% of what your spouse is entitled to at their full retirement age, spousal benefits may not come your way.

Rule #2: Early Birds May Catch Smaller Worms in the Social Security Game

For a full spousal benefit, wait until your Full Retirement Age (FRA) to claim. While you can begin as early as 62, this usually means reduced monthly payouts. One exception is caregiving for a child under 16 or disabled. Post-FRA claiming offers no benefit increase, echoing the fixed 50% maximum of your spouse’s FRA benefit amount.

Social Security full retirement age chart.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Rule #3: Social Security Benefits and Divorce – Unlikely Bedfellows But Important Allies

Divorce, a fate most couples fear, has implications on benefits. If entitled to spousal benefits, eligibility for divorce benefits exists after a 10-year marriage. Remarriage voids divorce benefits, pushing you to seek spousal benefits under a new work record. Social Security knowledge forms the bedrock of a financially secure retirement.

Surprises in the Social Security labyrinth are rare but lucrative. Discover the potential $22,924 bonus many retirees overlook – your retirement may thank you later. Retirement income secrets lie just a click away. Are you ready to unlock the treasure trove?

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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