Ask Larry: Will I Get Spousal Benefits When My Husband Takes His Social Security Retirement Benefit?

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Today’s Social Security column addresses questions about when spousal benefits may be available and how they can be paid, marriage and disability benefits and potential deductions due to early filing. Larry Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc.

See more Ask Larry’s answer here.

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Do you have your own Social Security questions that you want answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here,


Will I get spousal benefits when my spouse takes out his Social Security retirement benefits?

Hi Larry, I started receiving my Social Security retirement benefits at 62. My husband is planning to take his retirement benefits at 66. Will I Receive a Spouse Benefit Based on Their Record Instead of My Own Retirement Benefit? thanks, arlene

Hi Arlene, When your spouse begins receiving his retirement benefits, you will not stop receiving your own retirement benefits, but you will be able to qualify for additional partial, or additional, spousal benefits from his account. may be enabled.

Once you start receiving your own Social Security retirement benefits, those benefits continue for life. If you later become eligible for higher benefits on someone else’s account, Social Security pays partial benefits out of that account in addition to the individual’s own benefits.

If your spouse’s Primary Sum Assured (PIA) is more than twice your own PIA, you will only be eligible for additional spouse benefits. An individual’s PIA equals their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they begin receiving their benefits at full retirement age (FRA).

You and your husband may consider using my company’s software — max out my social security Or maxify planner – To thoroughly analyze your options so that you can make an informed decision about your best strategy to maximize your profits and avoid inadvertently leaving money on the table. Social Security calculators provided by other companies or nonprofits can give reasonable suggestions if they are designed with extreme care. Best, Larryu


Is there a way Social Security can lower my monthly check by getting married?

Hi Larry, I am 53 years old and have Social Security Disability. I would like to marry my boyfriend. Will there be any consequence if I marry him? Will the SSA reduce my monthly check? thanks, Glenda

Hi Glenda, as long as you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, marriage will not affect your benefits. An individual’s SSDI benefit rate remains the same whether they are married or not.

If you were receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), getting married could stop or reduce your SSI benefits. Unlike Social Security benefits, small scale industry benefits are need based. And if an SSI recipient marries, their spouse’s income and resources may make them ineligible for SSI. Best, Larryu


How will it affect my Social Security payments if I start withdrawing at age 65 1/2?

Hi Larry, I was born in December 1956. If I Claim Retirement Benefits at 65 1/2, How Much Will It Affect My Social Security Check? thanks, timo

Hi Tim, Your Full Retirement Age (FRA) is 66 and 4 months, depending on your date of birth. So if you start drawing your Social Security retirement benefits at 65 1/2, you’ll start 10 months before FRA.

Those who start receiving their benefits in FRA get 100% of their Primary Sum Assured (PIA). But if you start withdrawing 10 months before FRA, you will be paid around 94.4% of your PIA instead. Best, Larryu


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