Does my wife get a percentage of my Social Security benefit after she retires and claims her own benefits?
I plan on retiring at (or after) full retirement age. My wife is five years younger than me and plans to retire between the ages of 62-65. Does my wife get a percentage of my Social Security benefit while she continues to work? Does she get a percentage of my Social Security benefit after she retires and while claiming her own Social Security benefit?
Short answer is it depends. When you go to collect your wife will get nothing regardless if she is working or not. However, if she goes to collect she'll have an option. She can take her benefit straight up or if her spousal benefit is higher than what her own benefit would be (typically it is a percent of your benefit) than she can opt for the higher spousal benefit. Social Security department will talk you through it, but for planning purposes that is how it works. For reference the highest amount it could be would be if you were collecting, your wife hit her full retirement age (likely 66-67 but should be on her statement) and then she filed to collect. At this rate she would receive about 50% of your full retirement amount (assuming that you also waited until your full retirement age to collect).
Your wife won't be eligible to collect Social Security until she reaches at least 62. Once she does, she'll collect based on her own record with Social Security. She won't be entitled to a percentage of your benefit.
What you're describing happens when the higher earning spouse dies. Let's say you get $2000 per month in Social Security, and your wife gets $1000, each based on your own earnings records. When you die, your wife will be eligible to collect your benefit of $2000 per month.
In the meantime, each benefit will stand on its own.
Spousal benefits are benefits that a workers' spouse may be eligible for based on the workers' record. In order to qualify for spousal benefits the spouse must be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child and has been married to the worker for at least one year prior to filing for benefits. Under these circumstances the spouse can receive as much as half of the workers primary insurance amount depending on the age in which they file for benefits or if they have a qualified child in their care. The spouse is not eligible for spousal benefits if they are entitled to a retirement benefit that meets or exceeds one-half of the primary insurance amount of the worker. What this means is that if you have a primary insurance amount of $500 and your spouse has a primary insurance amount of $2000, you are entitled to $1000 worth of benefits. You will receive the $500 under your own benefit and $500 under your spouse's benefit which is equal one half of your spouse's benefit. Social Security benefits are reduced by a certain percentage for every month they are elected early. Spousal benefit reductions work the same way--though the factor by which the benefits are reduced is different.
The key here is to remember that even if your spouse is eligible for a higher benefit based on your record and receives it, your benefits amount does not change. You will continue to receive your benefit with out a reduction.
Married beneficiaries may be able to receive spousal benefits in addition to their own worker benefit.
Please note: One cannot receive both benefits at the same time.
Spousal benefits are most commonly used when one spouse stayed at home to raise children and either did not have their own earnings or their benefit based on their individual earnings were less than their spousal benefit.
It appears that your wife does have Social Security benefits based on her individual earnings. She would not be eligible to receive a portion of your Social Security benefit while she continues to work.
A spousal benefit is always 50% of the other spouse’s social security amount only if he/she files at the full retirement age.
The social security law has made some new unwelcome changes in 2016, and one of them is the killing of the “restricted filing” strategy. The earliest filing age for anyone is 62, and the consequence to take an early filing is the permanent 25% reduction. In your case, when your wife turns 62 and files for the social security benefit, the SSA will look at two scenarios. If you haven’t filed your benefit yet, the SSA will only look at her earning history and gives her 75% what she should have. For instance, if her full benefit at age 66 is $1,000/mo., by filing early at 62, she only gets $750/mo. Yes, she will get some COLA adjustments, but that $750/mo. pretty much will be stuck with her unless the spousal benefit may be higher, which leads up to the second scenario.
Say, if you file at your full retirement age, which is $2,400/mo., then the SSA will compare the two (50% of your spousal benefit is $1,200/mo., but with the 25% deduction is $900/mo. vs $750/mo. on her own earning history) and give her the higher amount ($900/mo.). (Disclaimer: I used a simple math in this example to illustrate, but to get an accurate amount you need to see the SSA representatives.) Once she gets that $900/mo., she can no longer delay her benefit based on her own earning history and hope for a bigger benefit later. The only people or spouse could benefit from the “restricted filing” to get a bigger benefit by switching from the spousal benefit to one’s own earning or vice versa is the people who were born before Jan. 2, 1954. Best!