Can I Draw Benefits On My Husband's Record?

Aug 5 2016 - 11:00am

I retired at age 60 from a job earning about $46,000. a year. Since I worked for a school district I am collecting on my PERS (Public Employees Retirement System). My husband retired from the certificated sector of education so he is collecting on his STRS (State Teachers Retirement System). I am planning on waiting until the age of 70 to begin collecting on my Social Security. Is this the best I can do? Also, what about any Social Security monies my husband has contributed over his lifetime? Can I collect on that even though he is not allowed?

Hi,

If you and your husband each have at least 40 quarters of coverage under Social Security, you can receive benefits on your own records, even though they'll likely be reduced due to the WEP provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf). Waiting until age 70 to start your Social Security will yield the highest possible monthly benefit amount. Note that WEP only affects benefits payable on a person's own record only.

It sounds unlikely that you would be able to receive any benefits from your husband's record. This is due to the GPO provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf). Under this provision, an amount equal to 2/3rds of the spouse's non-covered government pension is deducted from the amount of any Social Security spousal or widow(er)'s benefits for which they may qualify. This often causes the amount payable to be reduced to zero.

Best, Jerry