Even if a homemaker never contributed anything to Social Security in her lifetime, if her spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits, she is entitled to a spousal Social Security benefit when she reaches her full retirement age. The amount of her benefit is one-half of her spouse's benefit.
Dear Emily: If you are married, you will be eligible. Your Social Security retirement benefits are tied to your husband's. You can file when he does, provided you're at least 62 at that time.
Benefits For Your Spouse
Even if they have never worked under Social Security, your spouse may be eligible for benefits if they are at least 62 years of age and you are receiving retirement or disability benefits. Your spouse can also qualify for Medicare at age 65.
The maximum Social Security benefit of a nonworking spouse is up to 50 percent of the working spouse's benefit at FRA. So if, for example, your FRA benefit is $2,000/month, your spouse would be able to collect up to $1,000 at his FRA.
The only people who can legally collect benefits without paying into Social Security are family members of workers who have done so. Nonworking spouses, ex-spouses, offspring or parents may be eligible for spousal, survivor or children's benefits based on the qualifying worker's earnings record.
The Voluntary Suspension Loophole
This Social Security loophole allowed a married worker to voluntarily suspend his/her own benefits after full retirement age, allowing the spouse to receive spousal benefits while the worker was not collecting benefits.
For 2022, the special minimum benefit starts at $45.50 for someone with 11 years of coverage and goes to $950.80 for workers with 30 years of coverage. A financial advisor can help you plan your retirement taking into account your Social Security benefits.
Social Security Rules for Nonworker Spouses
Nonworking spouses are entitled to 50% of the working's spouses retirement benefit once they reach their own full retirement age (FRA). Note: the FRA is the age at which an individual is entitled to the full amount of their own SS benefit, if they qualify.
You currently have fewer than the 40 credits needed to become fully insured for retirement benefits. You can still earn credits and become fully insured if you work. We cannot pay you benefits if you don't have enough credits.
Anyone born in 1929 or later needs 10 years of work (40 credits) to be eligible for retirement benefits.
Social Security Program Rules
A wife generally must be married to the insured worker for at least 1 continuous year before she can receive benefits based on her husband's record.
If you are married and you and your spouse have worked and earned enough credits individually, you will each get your own Social Security benefit.
For example, stay-at-home-moms are eligible for Medicare even if they haven't worked and paid Medicare taxes. As long as their husbands have, they may enroll during their Initial Enrollment Period.
You need to earn at least the taxable maximum each year for 35 years to get the maximum possible Social Security payment. If you don't work for 35 years, zeros are averaged into your calculation and will decrease your Social Security payments.
We: Base Social Security benefits on your lifetime earnings. Adjust or “index” your actual earnings to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Calculate your average indexed monthly earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most.
There is a special rule that applies to earnings for one year, usually the first year of retirement. Under this rule, you can get a full Social Security benefit for any whole month you are retired, regardless of your yearly earnings.
Another requirement is that the spouse must be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child in her/his care. By a qualifying child, we mean a child who is under age 16 or who receives Social Security disability benefits.
If you make $120,000, here's your calculated monthly benefit
Assuming that you earn an inflation-adjusted $120,000 for at least 35 years, and that the maximum taxable Social Security wage base is $120,000 or higher during these years, this would translate to a lifetime monthly average of $10,000.
If you do not have at least 40 calendar quarters of work during which you paid Social Security taxes in the U.S., but your spouse does, you may be eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A based on your spouse's work history when you turn 65.
The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at full retirement age in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $3,345. However, if you retire at age 62 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $2,364. If you retire at age 70 in 2022, your maximum benefit would be $4,194.
California. In America's most populous state, some 4.3 million retirees who collect Social Security can expect to receive an average $1,496.13 per month from the program in 2020, or $17,953.56 over the course of the year. California is another state where benefits are below average for the U.S.