Can I collect Social Security on my spouse’s record?

Spousal benefits from social security income are the monthly amount a spouse can receive from the earned Social Security benefits earned by a spouse or ex-spouse. The amount of the benefit and the age when the claims can begin will depend on certain variables. Spousal benefits do not match the earnings of the benefit earned on the spouse’s record, but instead, are 50 percent of the amount the spouse will earn at full retirement age. In many instances, it is important to research carefully to determine when it is the best time to begin receiving benefits.

Current spouses can receive spousal benefits from their spouse’s record at the age of 62 if their spouse is also receiving retirement benefits. If their spouse dies after they begin collecting the retirement benefits, the payments to them will continue. Widowed spouses can begin collecting survivor spousal benefits at age 50 if they become disabled. They may also claim the benefits early if they are caring for a disabled child or a child under the age of 16 that belonged to the deceased spouse. All other widowed spouses will need to wait until the age of 62 to claim the benefit. For the spouse to qualify for this benefit, the marriage needs to have lasted for at least nine months unless the death occurred as a line of duty accident while in the military.

Individuals that wish to collect spousal benefits from their ex after a divorce may do so at the age of 62 if they meet certain requirements. The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and the divorce needs to have taken place at least two years before the claim for the benefits. Ex-spouses that want to receive the benefit cannot remarry and will not have access to the benefits until their spouse turns at least 62. The benefits remain available to the spouse even if their ex chooses to remarry. People cannot claim benefits from their ex and also collect their own retirement benefits. The government will only pay out the higher of the two options.

The most important decision about when to collect spousal benefits is what age to begin. Benefits become available at age 62, but only partial benefits go out to people that begin collecting at that age. The discount on the benefits could be as much as 30 percent. To receive 100 percent of the benefit due to them, the retiree or the spouse must wait until age 67. After age 67, the amount increases a small percentage each year until the age of 70, where the recipient receives 132 percent of their retirement benefit. The benefit amounts do not increase automatically at these ages but remain the same throughout based on the age when they began collecting.