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Ran across a good Motley Fool article about Social Security spousal benefits. Outlines a few scenarios where a spouse can actually receive social security benefits from, that likely most people are probably not aware of. Thought I'd share a few excerpts...
1. Social Security benefits are available to widows and widowers -- and even to some surviving children. The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that about 5 million widows and widowers are currently receiving monthly benefit checks based on their departed spouse's earnings history. That can be quite a big deal, because many people die without life insurance or other provisions for their families.
2. One thing many people don't realize is that you may be eligible to claim spousal benefits even if you're divorced. To be eligible, you need to meet the following criteria:
- The marriage lasted at least 10 years.
- You are unmarried -- if you remarried, you can only collect a benefit if your subsequent marriage has since ended.
- You are 62 or older -- this is the age of eligibility for any Social Security retirement benefit.
- Your ex-spouse is entitled to benefits based on his or her work record.
- The benefit you would get from your own work record is less than a spousal benefit would be.
3. Many people get confused about just how spousal benefits work. Once you turn 62, you're eligible to take Social Security benefits based on your spouse's work history if your spouse has also filed for benefits. Typically, your benefit will be equal to half of what your spouse would receive at full retirement age, adjusted for the age at which you take the spousal benefit. Your monthly payment will be less than half of your spouse's full retirement age benefit if you take spousal benefits early, with the maximum haircut being 30% if you claim at the first possible age of 62.
I'm sure there are several other scenarios that few know about. Feel free and post here, if you happen to know of any this article doesn't outline. Seems a confusing topic, that little fully understand. Hope this helps. Would recommend checking out the full article, linked above.