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).
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.