This article, authored by Claudia Mott, was originally posted on NJMoneyhelp.com
Q. The man I’ve been dating for six years wants to get engaged. He is 66 years old, retired and receiving his Social Security. I am 60 years old and still working. If we get married, how will that affect his Social Security? Can he claim mine if it is more? Or does his Social Security remain the same? Will marriage affect anything?
— Lovely elder
That’s exciting news.
Let’s review how spousal benefits work before answering your specific questions.
An individual must be at least age 62 or have a qualifying child in their care to be eligible for a spousal benefit, said Claudia Mott, a certified financial planner with Epona Financial Solutions in Basking Ridge.
She said at full retirement age, the amount a spouse would receive is equal to one half of their partner’s primary insurance amount (PIA). However, Social Security will look at the individual’s own benefit to determine how much it would be and it will be compared to the spousal benefit amount, Mott said.
“Social Security only pays a spousal benefit if it is higher than the individual’s own payment,” she said. “As an example, if a spousal benefit at FRA is $1,000 per month and the individual’s is $800, the amount received would be $1,000.”
When you are married, your husband might qualify for a spousal benefit if the amount he is receiving on his own work record is less than 50% of your projected PIA amount. Mott said.
If the amount he is already receiving is greater than the spousal calculation, he’ll retain his own benefit, she said.
“The amount he is eligible to receive could be impacted by when he filed to receive benefits as there is a percentage reduction applied for every month you file before reaching full retirement age,” she said.
Also note that marriage can affect the ability to file for benefits as a divorced spouse.
“In the event an individual is receiving a benefit from an ex-spouse, the benefit will stop should they remarry,” she said.
We recommend you contact Social Security so it can advise based on your personal records.
Email your questions to Ask@NJMoneyHelp.com.
This story was originally published on Jan. 30, 2023.
NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.