How Does Social Security Work When A Spouse Dies – Written by James Royal, Ph.D. Written by James Royal, Ph.D.Right Arrow Investment and Wealth Management Author and Senior Editor James F. Royal, Ph.D., covers investing and wealth management. His work has been featured by CNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and more. Twitter Linkedin Email James Royal, Ph.D.
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- 1 How Does Social Security Work When A Spouse Dies
- 2 Retirement Benefits: Maximizing Your Social Security Payout
- 3 Reasons Why You Should Delay Your Social Security Benefits As Long As Possible
- 4 How Are Social Security Spousal Benefits Calculated?
How Does Social Security Work When A Spouse Dies
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Social Security Basics To Know By Jason Spates
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Social Security provides benefits not only to retired workers, but also to spouses who did not participate in the program. Spouses are one of the many beneficiaries of Social Security, and even ex-spouses can benefit from the program in some cases.
When you apply for Social Security, you automatically apply for most of your benefits or half of your spouse’s benefits. The average monthly wage for all retired workers was $1,701.62, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA), and those claiming spousal benefits received an average check of $893.
When an employee claims Social Security benefits, the employee’s spouse can claim benefits based on the employee’s contributions. To receive benefits, a spouse must be 62 years old or be caring for a child under the age of 16 (or one of them is receiving Social Security disability benefits). Also, spouses cannot claim spousal benefits unless the employee writes to them.
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“A spouse’s benefit is limited to half of your spouse’s pension at full retirement age. If [the worker] waits to claim, the spouse’s benefit cannot increase,” says Claire Toth, director and senior wealth strategist at Peapack Bank. -Gladstone of New Jersey.
Tote refers to a retirement strategy that does not claim benefits until full retirement age (usually age 66 to 67) in order to claim a larger monthly benefit. Social Security will increase your benefits significantly if you delay applying until age 70. This is one way to reduce your salary without working more.
However, if your spouse learns before full retirement age, your spouse will likely receive a reduced permanent benefit. Benefits can be reduced so that the spouse receives at least 32.5 percent of the retiree’s earnings. The spousal benefit is reduced by seven-tenths of 1 percent for each month until full retirement age, 36 months. If you go over 36 months, Social Security will be about four-tenths of 1 percent for the last months. The math can be complicated, but Social Security offers a tool to help you calculate your spousal benefits.
An exception to this early registration rule is if the spouse has a child under 16 or disabled, in which case the benefit is not reduced. In fact, that spouse can claim spousal support at any age as long as he or she is caring for a child who is also receiving benefits.
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Generally, if you are married, divorced, or widowed and your spouse receives benefits, you may be eligible.
Applicants for spousal benefits must be married for at least one year. Your spouse must also have started receiving Social Security — unless you’re a widow. In the latter case, you can receive your deceased spouse’s full wages, as opposed to a spousal benefit, if their benefits exceed yours. However, if you remarry, you will not be eligible to receive your deceased spouse’s benefit.
Even ex-spouses can sue you based on your income. The requirements for claiming benefits based on your ex-spouse’s employment record are:
“Theoretically, a person could marry a new person every 10 years and receive spousal benefits as a gift,” says Chicago attorney Russell D. Knight. “Better than nothing.”
Reasons Why You Should Delay Your Social Security Benefits As Long As Possible
“When this happens, neither the money nor the current spouse is cut off — the Social Security Administration takes it over immediately,” says Warren Ward, CFP at WWA Planning & Investments in Columbus, Indiana.
Social Security offers several options for how to get your benefits, and while the options are meant to give retirees and others flexibility, they create more confusion. Everyone wants to get all the benefits they are entitled to, and this challenge can prevent you from getting more money from the program. Couples have several ways to proceed here, and the best course of action often depends on your personal financial situation.
Although the best age to claim spousal benefits is a personal decision, you cannot claim these benefits until you are 62. If you opt out after age 62 and before full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced.
And if you wait until full retirement age, your benefits won’t increase. A worker can receive delayed benefits until age 70, but a spouse applying for benefits cannot.
How Are Social Security Spousal Benefits Calculated?
Lindsay Malzon, a Medicare expert at Medigap.com, says, “The best strategy for receiving Social Security retirement benefits as a spouse is to wait until you reach your normal retirement age, between 65 and 67, depending on the year. where you were born.” . “If you’re not looking after a qualified child now, if you haven’t reached normal retirement age, you’re going to get a lower benefit.”
“We usually start with a health check: how long has the same-sex parent lived and what is the current health status of both partners,” says Ward. “Those with a long life and good health are generally better off waiting for maximum benefits. Those with a longer life or poor health may be better off starting sooner. Those with a terminal illness can apply up to six months in advance. and start receiving payments immediately and collect a check for those “overdue” payments.
A spouse benefit can offer some flexibility to older files. For example,
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