Should My Benefit Be 50% Of My Husband's Rate?

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May 12 2020 - 2:25pm

I was born October 1939. I took my SS retirement at age 62. My husband and I married in 2018. He was also born in 1939 and took his SS retirement at age 62. My husband's PIA is greater than mine. I applied for spousal benefits after our marriage and was awarded spousal benefits beginning November 2019. Should my benefit be 50% of his retirement benefit rate?
Thank you.

Hi,

No. Any reduction for age applied to a person's Social Security benefits is calculated independently based on their age when they start drawing the benefit.

For example, say June, who was born in 1939, filed for her Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. June's full retirement age rate (FRA), or primary insurance amount (PIA), is currently $800, but her actual rate is reduced to $630 because she started drawing her benefits at age 62. In 2018, June got married to Ward, who was also born in 1939. Ward's current PIA is $2000, but he also started drawing his benefits at age 62 so his benefit rate is reduced to $1575.

When June files for spousal benefits, her unreduced spousal rate would be calculated by subtracting her PIA from 50% of Ward's PIA, which in this example is $200 (i.e. $2000/2 - $800). June's spousal rate would not be reduced for age since she's already over FRA when she becomes entitled to spousal benefits. Therefore, June would be paid her own reduced retirement benefit of $630 plus her unreduced spousal rate of $200. Thus, in this example June's total benefit amount of $830 is more than 50% of Ward's benefit rate of $1575, even though she's receiving spousal benefits.

Best, Jerry