Can My Husband Apply For A Spousal Benefit Based On My Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits?

Category: 
Jul 11 2018 - 4:39pm

Hi! I was born in 1960 and receive social security disability. My husband was born in 1952. He turns 66 next month. Can he apply for a spousal benefit based on my receiving benefits and suspend his application to.allow his benefit amount to increase? How much will his spousal benefit be if my amount is about $800?

Hi,

It sounds like your husband would qualify to apply just spousal benefits only on your Social Security disability (SSDI) record effective with the month he reaches age 66 while letting his own benefit rate grow until age 70. However, if your SSDI benefit amount is only $800 per month, then your husband's spousal benefit rate would likely be very low, if not zero.

The reason that your husband could likely only be paid a small amount if any on your record is due to the special family maximum formula that applies to SSDI accounts (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/COLA/dibfamilymax.html). That formula can limit maximum family benefits on SSDI accounts to as little as 100% of the benefit rate payable to the worker, in some cases leaving no benefits payable to family members (e.g. spouse, children) who would otherwise qualify for auxiliary benefits on the worker's record.

Whether or not your husband could receive even a small benefit from your account would depend on the exact amount of your SSDI benefit and when you became disabled. Our maximization software could do the math involved to determine how much if any spousal benefits that your husband could receive. The software would also allow your husband to compare all of his options in order to determine his best overall filing strategy.

If your husband is eligible for at least some spousal benefits and decides to defer starting his own benefits until age 70, he wouldn't then want to file for and suspend his own benefits at age 66. Doing so would make him ineligible to receive spousal benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/suspendfaq.html). What he would do instead is simply file a restricted application just for spousal benefits at age 66, and then file a separate application when he wants to start drawing his own benefits.

Best, Jerry