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Social Security: Things you do that could impact your spouse’s benefits

Social Security benefits are benefits that help both retired workers and their spouses once they choose to quit working.

social security card with cash for social security spousal benefits

It’s important to keep your spouse and their benefits in mind when filing for Social Security, or making any changes.

While the benefits may be yours and based on your own working years, your spouse and dependents can be directly impacted by your choices.


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How do spousal Social Security benefits work?

Once you’ve met all the criteria for claiming Social Security benefits, your spouse has the same option.

Your spouse did not need to work to benefit from your claim.

The benefit your spouse can claim is worth up to half of your benefit at full retirement age.

If your spouse can claim their own benefits, the Social Security Administration will determine which benefit is larger and give them that one.


Top four things to know about Social Security if you are divorced

Here are three things to keep in mind that can directly impact your spouse’s benefits

Whatever your income is while you worked will impact spousal benefits

Your benefits are based on the 35 highest earning years in your work history.

If you had less than 35 years, $0 will be counted into your overall benefit.

The best thing to do for yourself and your spouse is to make sure you make as much as you can for 35 solid years.


COLA: Increase for 2023 may be 3.9%

COLA is impacted by income

Each year the SSA determines whether they could increase the COLA for Social Security recipients.

Whatever your benefit is will increase by the COLA rate.

In 2022 that was 5.9%.

Your benefits will increase and so will your spouse’s based on your own.


When you collect Social Security benefits is when your spouse finally can

Your spouse may not claim benefits until you do, unless they have their own to claim.

Sometimes they will get more on your benefits, so it’s better to have them just collect theirs first.

The SSA will adjust their benefits once you retire to give them the full spousal benefit instead of their own.

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