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What are spousal benefits relating to social security benefits

Customer Question

what are spousal benefits relating to social security benefits ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Tax.appeal.168 replied 2 years ago.
Welcome. Thank you for choosing us to assist you. My name is ***** ***** my goal is to help make your life, a little... less taxing.
In brief, as a spouse, you can claim a Social Security benefit based on your own earnings record, or you can collect a spousal benefit that will provide you 50% of the amount of your spouse’s Social Security benefit as calculated at their full retirement age (FRA). Your personal FRA depends on your year of birth.
You are automatically entitled to receive the benefit that provides you the higher monthly amount; either a benefit based on your own earnings, or the spousal benefit, and prior to reaching full retirement age, Social Security makes this determination for you.
After you reach full retirement age, you can choose to receive only the spousal benefit, and delay receiving your retirement benefits until a later date, allowing you to receive a higher benefit later based on the effect of delayed retirement credits.
You must be age 62 to qualify for either type of Social Security benefit.
You cannot collect a spousal benefit until your spouse files for their own benefit. (Slightly different rules apply for ex-spouses - scroll to bottom for a link to spousal benefits for ex-spouses.)
REFERENCE SOURCE:
http://moneyover55.about.com/od/socialsecuritybenefits/a/socialsecurityspousebenefit.htm
You may wish to refer to the following SSA webpage for more information regarding calculations and other info relating to the spousal benefits.
http://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/yourspouse.html