Can I Receive Spousal Benefits?

Apr 19 2017 - 7:13am

Social security personnel have given me conflicting answers, in person and on phone. My husband who turned 65, march, of 2017, will start receiving his S.S. retirement benefits in May of this year, 2017. I will turn 65 on June 29 of 2017. My retirement benefits at 65 will be $300.00 a month, as I have never been an employee of my husbands business and only worked part time prior to this. I would like to defer my s.s. benefits and receive i believe it is 45.8%of my husband at the beginning of birthday month of June 2017. i was told yes I could do this, then I was told no, you can only get your own, and at 66 you can the defer and apply for your husbands. My problem is my husband is in beginning Alzheimer and I cannot work and he will not go to a doctor, so at this juncture I cannot prove he is disabled, but he in unable to do his work any longer. What is the correct answer, may I receive 45.8% of my husbands retirement when i turn 65 or can I only get my own. When can I stop mine and get his, and if I wait until 66 will it then be 50%. I feel like the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing at Social Security offices or phone help. thanks


You can file for spousal benefits if your husband is receiving his benefits, but you will also have to file for your own benefits if you file prior to age 66. What you will likely receive is a combination of retirement and spousal benefits, and both benefit rates will be reduced if you start drawing them before age 66.

For example, say your own full retirement age rate (PIA) is $300, and your husband's PIA is $2,000. If you filed at full retirement age, you could receive the full $300 on your own record, plus the difference between your PIA and half of your husband's PIA (i.e. $2000/2 - $300 = $700). Thus, your combined unreduced benefit rate would be $1000, or 50% of your husband's PIA, in this example. But, if you file at age 65 instead, both benefits would be reduced. Continuing this example, the $300 on your own record would be reduced to about $280, and the $700 excess spousal benefit would be reduced to about $641. So, the combined benefit at age 65 in this example would be about $921.

You may want to strongly consider running the maximization software available on this website in order to determine your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry