Chapter 9

Spousal Benefits: Watching Out for Each Other

In This Chapter

arrow Finding out who qualifies for spousal benefits

arrow Looking at how much a spouse gets

arrow Getting the most you can out of spousal benefits

When you think about Social Security, you probably focus on your own retirement benefit, earned through years of working and contributing payroll taxes into the system. But if you are or ever have been married, you have more than that to consider. You also have earned (or may earn) benefits for your spouse, and your spouse may have earned (or may earn) benefits for you.

When you make decisions about filing for Social Security retirement benefits, you may not be making those decisions in isolation — your decisions may affect (or be affected by) your spouse or former spouse. You can maximize your retirement benefits — or leave the most for your spouse upon your death — by finding the strategy that’s right for your unique situation. In this chapter, I show you how.

But first, I start by telling you who qualifies for spousal benefits and who doesn’t. If you’re married, or you’ve ever been married, read on.

Who Qualifies and Who Doesn’t

Spousal benefits are benefits earned by a breadwinner, ...

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