As we age Social Security eligibility seems to be in the distant future, however, as time slips away its arrival becomes imminent. Should I retire in my 60s or wait until my 70s to collect the maximum funds? More and more eligible individuals choose to work longer to maximize the monthly amount they receive. The difference can be an added several hundred dollars per month. In addition, if you are or were married you can obtain your benefits based on your spouse’s Social Security work record, which is called spousal benefits and it does not affect your spouse’s benefit amount.
When you file for Social Security benefits on your own record, Social Security considers you’re filing for both individual and spousal benefits. You’re supposed to receive the higher of the two calculations. The spousal benefit may apply to a
current spouse, widowed spouse, or ex-spouse if you’re divorced. Ex-spouses married for 10 years or more (and divorced for at least two years), who don’t remarry before turning 60, may be eligible for Social Security spousal benefits. Usually the Social Security spousal benefit is about half of the spouse’s full retirement age benefits amount. It is decreased when the initial spouse claims Social Security benefits before the full retirement age is reached.
Spousal benefits are available to collect at age 62. Eligibility is offered for spousal benefits once the spouse claims benefits first, but if the parties are divorced, this rule doesn’t apply. Once a person qualifies for spousal benefits and begins to receive the benefit before reaching their own full retirement age, this benefit is forever reduced.
If you are considering early retirement, you should know how electing it may change your benefits amount. For more information about determining your early retirement benefits calculation, visit the Social Security Benefits section at www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html. For general information and to apply for benefits go directly to the Social Security website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov or contact them by phone at 1-800-772-1213.
About Our Author
Kathleen J Ferguson
Kathleen J. Ferguson is a creative writer and blogger. In addition, she is the mother of three grown daughters and is a caregiver to her own mother. She is currently working on a book of poems.