Are Social Security Benefits Affected by Marriage?
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Social security is one of the most common and reliable insurance benefits provided by the US government. Last year, close to a trillion dollars were distributed among 64 million Americans in the form of social security premiums. The cover not only provides financial help but also acts as an aid for disabled workers or families without an earning member.
Social security is more than just a fund. There are various aspects related to it, and with the right strategy, the paybacks can provide significant long-term benefits. Unfortunately, most married couples try to aim for it from an individual point of view. For instance, instead of considering their joint life expectancy, they make decisions on the basis of their individual age. This eradicates the chances of holding on to certain perks of welfare such as survival and spousal remunerations.
You must know that social security benefits can be more beneficial for couples if they seek them jointly. Here are some factors that can help you take benefits in the most lucrative way as a married couple:
Social Security Norms for Married People
If you are a married couple, you are entitled to your own or half of your partner’s social security benefits. However, you need to wait till you retire. Ideally, if an individual needs to take spousal benefits, then he or she automatically qualifies for social security. This is valid even if you are not working. The only condition is that your spouse should have worked for at least 10 years (which can be reduced if the person dies at a younger age). However, the catch here is that you can claim the spousal benefits only if your partner also claims the same benefits.
Age remains an important factor to consider when you decide to claim social security. Many couples follow the course in which the partner who has less income starts taking the benefit early. This helps the other partner to delay the social security benefits and take its full advantage during retirement.
Marriage Can Decrease Social Security Benefits
It is worth noticing that your previous earnings have nothing to do with your eligibility for social security. When you tie the knot with your partner, a part of your spouse’s income is considered yours. This also includes financial assets, investment assets, social security disability insurance, and any other income source. When your partner earns a good amount of money, your social security limit can exceed the capped perimeter. This means that marriage may decrease your benefit amount.
If you and your spouse were separately receiving social security insurance before marriage, the amount may get reduced to a certain limit. The single payment sum is $771 while the couple amount is limited to $1,157. As you can see, the couple amount is lesser than an individual’s amount combined ($771 + $771 = $1542).
However, delaying the benefits of couples with thoughtful planning can give way to increased payouts. Here’s how.
Delay the Benefits
Married couples can always strategize on the time at which they decide to take social security benefits. While the lower earner can get an added monthly income by taking the benefit early, the higher earner can delay it till the age of 66. Within this methodology, a married person can foresee the increased value of social security checks by shelving it until the age of retirement. The benefit matures fully at 70. During this time, you can receive 132% of the base benefit which is much higher as compared to social security benefits at the age of 62.
The concept of delay works as one partner is already taking smaller amounts of benefits, securing the income beforehand. This helps the number of higher earners to grow marginally large over time. The social security benefits elevate on the basis of the base amount. Additionally, when the delayed filing comes into action, the already claimed security becomes eligible for the spousal benefit. This is with reference to the rule that the spousal benefit should be higher than the amount the couple is entitled to, calculated on the basis of their employment record. This can bring a win-win situation for the couple where they can enjoy a constant monthly income.
Benefits for Survivors, Divorcees, and the Deceased
You can claim 100% of social security if your spouse is deceased. Widows and widowers can opt for the benefit when they cross the age of 60. At this stage, the amount you get will be 71% to 99% of the total premium. If you are disabled, you can claim the benefits at the age of 50. In case of a disabled child or a minor under the age of 16, the minimum age limit for making the claim is 50 years.
One may qualify for survivor benefits depending on the age at which the spouse passed away. If he or she was younger, then the prescribed limit of 10 years at work may reduce. This means that you can claim social security if the spouse worked for less than 10 years. To estimate the qualification, you may look forward to contacting the social security authorities.
Another aspect worth noticing is that divorcees are also entitled to benefits even if your spouse has remarried. To qualify for the premium in this case, you must be married for at least 10 years without remarrying later.
To Sum it Up
If you take a good look at various peripherals of social security for married couples, you will realize that the scenario is in the favor of the beneficiaries. So, if you follow the right time and procedure to avail the benefits, you can certainly maximize the amount. There is no guesswork here, and exact estimates can help you plan a secure marriage social security plan. Knowing your rights and being up to date with rules for married couples will not only give you peace of mind, but also secure your future.
If you wish to discover more strategies about social security for married couples, get in touch with financial advisors. Their retirement guidance can help you lead a financially secure retirement life.