Social Security Questions? Ask a Social Security Expert
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You can only collect one benefits at the time. When one of you dies, the other one may be eligible for survivor benefits (other spouse's benefits) and receive the higher benefits (his/her own or the spousal, but not both).
To get 100% of the spousal benefits, the other spouse will have to wait until his/her full retirement age to apply for any type of SS benefits.
For instance, if you apply at 62, you will only be eligible for about 80% of your own as well as your surviving benefits. If your spouse wait until her full retirement age to apply for benefits, she will get 100% of her own or survivor benefits (100% of what you were eligible for)
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