What are the requirements for a husband or wife to receive benefits?

A spouse receives one-half of the retired worker`s full benefit unless the spouse begins collecting benefits before full retirement age. In that case, the amount of the spouse`s benefit is permanently reduced by a percentage based on the number of months before he/she reaches full retirement age. For example, based on the full retirement age of 65, if a spouse begins collecting benefits at 64, the benefit amount would be about 46 percent of the retired worker`s full benefit. At age 63, it would be about 42 percent, and 37.5 percent at age 62. However, if a spouse is taking care of a child who is under age 16 or disabled and receiving Social Security benefits, a spouse gets full benefits, regardless of age.

If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefit and for benefits as a spouse, we always pay your own benefit first. If your benefit as a spouse is higher than your retirement benefit, you`ll receive a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse`s benefit.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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