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Social Security

How to Maximize Social Security With Spousal Benefits

IF YOU ARE OR WERE married in the past, you may be eligible to apply for spousal Social Security benefits. “Spousal benefits are often underutilized,” says Ken Moraif, a certified financial planner at Retirement Planners of America in Plano, Texas. The exact amount you receive will be determined by factors including your age, work history and marital status.


10 Social Security Calculators

You can expect the following when applying for Social Security spousal benefits:

You can receive up to 50% of your spouse’s Social Security benefit.
You can apply for benefits if you have been married for at least one year.
If you have been divorced for at least two years, you can apply if the marriage lasted 10 or more years.
Starting benefits early may lead to a reduction in payments.
If you have a work history, you’ll receive either your benefit or the spousal benefit, whichever is greater.
To be eligible, your working spouse will need to have already claimed benefits.
To make the most of your spousal Social Security benefit, it can be helpful to be aware of the amount you might be eligible for, as well as how the timing of your claim can impact how much you receive.


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