Will My Husband Qualify For Benefits As My Spouse?

Feb 27 2020 - 10:40am

Hi Larry, I am a retired American waiting until age 70 to file for my social security benefits. I am married (for over 10 years now) to a Canadian citizen who has a green card. I wonder if my husband would be eligible for spousal benefis on my record, when I file at age 70. He is two years younger. For the past couple of years we have spent most of our time in Canada, because I would like to become a dual citizen. However, we have a US address, US bank accounts, and file both US and Canadian taxes each year. My husband collects a very small teacher's pension, plus around $700 CAD a month in Canada Pension and Old Age Security. My estimated social security payment at age 70 is well over $30,000 USD. So if he is eligible, it would be worth our while to pursue. Also would he be able to enroll for Medicare Part A, based on my record? Would living in the US instead of Canada make a difference? Thank you. Kathy

Hi Kathy,

Foreign pensions aren't counted as government pensions for purposes of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) provision (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf), so nothing in your question leads me to think that your husband couldn't collect spousal benefits when you start drawing your Social Security.

Assuming that your husband's not a U.S. citizen, he would need to have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence at least 5 years ago in order to qualify for Medicare. If he was, and assuming that he's at least age 65, he could qualify for premium free part A of Medicare on your record even if you aren't yet drawing your benefits.

Best, Jerry