By Dora Miller, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Shreveport, LA
You probably already know that when it comes time to apply for
retirement, you can do it online at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.But did you know that spouses can apply
That’s right.If you are a
spouse applying for benefits based on your husband’s or wife’s record, you can
do it online from the convenience of your own home.It’s so easy!
Wonder whether you may qualify to apply for spouse’s benefits? If you are a spouse who has not worked or who
has worked for very low wages, you could be entitled to a benefit equal to as
much as one-half of your retired spouse’s full benefit.Even if you are divorced, you may be eligible
for benefits based on the employment record of your former spouse.
To get benefits on your spouse’s record, you must be at least age
62 or have a qualifying child in your care — a child who is under age 16 or who
receives Social Security disability benefits.
The amount of your spousal benefit depends on your age at
retirement.If you begin receiving
benefits before full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced
in most cases.
You also may be eligible for a retirement benefit based on your
own earnings.If that benefit is higher
than the spousal benefit, Social Security would pay you the higher
benefit.We compare which of the two
benefits would be more beneficial to you, and discuss the options you have.
If you have reached your full retirement age and are eligible for
a spouse’s benefit as well as your own retirement benefit, you may choose to
receive the spouse’s benefits only in order to continue accruing delayed
retirement credits on your own Social Security record.You may then file for benefits at a later
date and receive a higher monthly benefit based on the effect of delayed
Remember that if you are a spouse who is taking care of a minor
child (16 or under) or a child who is disabled and gets Social Security
benefits on your or your spouse’s record, you can receive a benefit, regardless
of your retirement age.
Read more about Social
Security Retirement Benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10035.html.