SS_Medicare_flipbook_2017 - page 8

Once you file for Social Security, you will be “deemed” to be
applying for the maximum benefit to which you are entitled —
whether it’s your own retired worker benefit or a spousal benefit.
You will not be able to claim a spousal benefit and switch to a
higher worker benefit at a later date.
If you are married and were born on or before January 1, 1954, you may be eligible to file a
“restricted application” for spouse-only benefits when you reach full retirement age and earn
delayed retirement credits on your own work record.
Survivor benefits, however, are not affected by the new deemed filing rules, so an eligible widow
or widower can switch from a spousal or worker benefit to a survivor benefit (or vice versa).
Spousal Benefits
Spouses are entitled to receive a benefit based on their own earnings
history or a spousal benefit that could be as high as 50% of the other
spouse’s full benefit amount.
To receive a spousal benefit, you must be age 62 or older, you must have been
married for at least one year, and your spouse must be receiving Social Security benefits.
A spousal benefit claimed at
full retirement age would be equal to one-half of your
spouse’s Primary Insurance Amount. If you elect to receive a spousal benefit before
reaching full retirement age, you will receive a permanently reduced benefit, unless a
qualifying child is being cared for. The reduction amount is based on
age when
claiming the spousal benefit.
An unmarried, divorced spouse may also be eligible to collect retirement benefits
based on a former spouse’s work record if they were married for at least 10 years.
These benefits have no effect on the former spouse’s benefits or on his or her
subsequent spouse’s benefits.
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