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Social Security: Spouses getting the most in benefits

Spousal social security works a little bit differently, where the spouse can claim their own benefits based on their own working history, or they can claim half of their spouse’s benefit.

How does spousal Social Security support work?

Married individuals as well as some divorced couples and widows are eligible for spousal benefits beginning at age 62. You must be legally married for at least one year before you’re entitled to the benefits.

The most a spouse can get of their spouse collecting social security is 50% of their benefits. The spouse must also have filed and started collecting their own benefits in order for you to collect.

Related: Less and less people are claiming social security benefits before the age of 70

Sometimes you collect your own benefits but if you had waited to collect with your spouse, you would get more. What happens in this situation is Social Security can pay you the difference.

If you filed before your spouse and are entitled to $1,000 per month, but your spouse gets $2,400, then your half would have been $1,200. You will be paid that $200 difference.

Related: Married couples that claim social security need to keep these 3 things in mind

However, if your own benefit is over what half of your spouse’s benefit is, you can not double dip.

When filing for benefits, the rules can become complicated.

If a spouse files on their own and the other spouse has not filed yet, they’re only filing for their own benefits. If the spouse is filing after the other spouse has started collecting, then they must file for both social security and spousal benefits so the Social Security Administration gives them what they’re entitled to.

Related: When will the first COLA checks go out in January of 2022?

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