A Primer on Social Security Spousal Benefits

SSA-image-3My Comments: For many millions of us, the monthly Social Security check keeps us housed, fed, and clothed. This is something society has provided for it’s elder citizens since civilizations appeared on the planet. The way it’s accomplished has changed, but the basic premise has not.

Why is that some we have put in charge of rule making have concluded this is a waste of their money? Why did we put them in charge in the first place? How many of us have to starve or simply find a way to die quickly before common sense prevails?

The reality is a Republican has introduced legislation that could very easily put Social Security back on track to remain viable for another 50 years. Do you think it has a chance of passing? What follows is my weekly attempt to help anyone better understand the workings of our Social Security system. I’ll report on the proposed legislation as the next Tuesday’s roll around.

by Robert Powell | December 9, 2016

Q: I am 69, and I started drawing my Social Security benefits when I was 66. My husband, who is 62, is still working. My question: Can he draw on my Social Security benefits (receiving 50%) until he is 66? Can we get the forms on the Internet? He works the third shift and asked if I could help him since Social Security offices are not open at night. — Carolyn Farlow, Reno

A: Bad news times three.
First, if your husband takes spousal Social Security at 62, he doesn’t get 50% of your payment, he only gets 35%, because of early filing, says Andy Landis, author of Social Security: The Inside Story: An Expert Explains Your Rights and Benefits. “He would have to wait until 66 to start the Social Security to get the full 50% payment,” Landis says.

Second, Landis says if your husband files before 66 he has to file for both the spousal and his own Social Security. “That means there would be a permanent reduction in both kinds of payments,” he says.

And third, since your husband is under 66, his work can reduce his Social Security even further, says Landis.

After all those cautions, your husband might still choose to file for Social Security, says Landis. If so, you can get started at Apply for Benefits. Before you do, you might run your situation through a free adviser such as that found at the Financial Engines website.

Says Landis: “Congratulations for planning ahead.”

One thought on “A Primer on Social Security Spousal Benefits

  1. Charlotte

    A way to fix Social Security is for only the payee to be entitled to the benefit without having to file a net worth statement. Too often a benefit is paid to some one who either has a six figure income(spouse of a wealthy person, or a widow/widower who has lots of securities). A divorcee who had several ex-spouses who may qualify due to length of marriage. A widowed parent who earns over $250K, etc. Another pay out is the ridiculous $250.00 paid as a death benefit. In terms of a funeral, this pays for almost nothing, and even really poor widows/widowers can’t do much with it, so get rid of it. Quite a bit of money could be saved along with increasing the income level subject to Social Security tax.


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