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Social Security Spousal Benefits: 14 Key Loopholes to Know!

This list of fourteen social security spousal benefits and vulnerabilities was compiled using data from the Social Security Administration and reputable organizations, with scores assigned in ascending order after summing scores from lowest to highest.

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Social Security Spousal Benefits: We began the compilation of this list of fourteen social security spousal benefits and vulnerabilities you should be aware of immediately by examining data from the Social Security Administration and other reputable organizations, including Forbes, Investopedia, Nasdaq, and Bankrate, among others. Following this, we resolved to assign scores to every benefit and vulnerability we could identify through a consensus process. The benefits were ranked in ascending order after summing the scores from lowest to highest.

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14. Qualify for an Increased Spousal Benefit

You may not qualify for increased Social Security benefits as a prospective retiree if your employment history contains voids or if you currently hold a part-time job. Notwithstanding the cause, a spouse is eligible to file for Social Security benefits. As per the Social Security Administration, to be eligible for spousal benefits, an individual must meet the following requirements: be at least 62 years old, be of any age and be the guardian of a child under the age of sixteen, or have a disability that qualifies them to receive benefits on their spouse’s record. This spouse benefit may be equivalent to fifty percent of the total retirement benefit that their spouse is eligible to receive. Should an individual choose to postpone the receipt of these benefits until they reach complete retirement age, they will be entitled to the entire spouse’s benefit amount, reduced by half of what their spouse is eligible to receive. Nonetheless, benefits cease to increase thereafter.

13. Obtain Spousal Benefits, Irrespective of Employment Status

Social Security continues to permit non-working spouses to earn benefits under the earnings records of their employed spouse, even if they are stay-at-home parents or do not engage in paid employment. These non-working spousal retirement benefits are typically equivalent to fifty percent of those of the working spouse. The precise percentage, nevertheless, is contingent upon the commencement of benefits for the nonworking spouse. Utilizing these benefits before attaining full retirement age (FRA) results in a reduction thereof.

12. Retain Spousal benefits, Notwithstanding Divorce

An ex-spouse may qualify for spousal benefits based on their former spouse’s earnings record, notwithstanding the remarriage of said former spouse. You must be aware of this significant social security spousal benefit and loophole immediately. To qualify for Social Security divorced spouse benefits, the claiming spouse must meet the following requirements: be at least 62 years old and unmarried; be divorced from an individual who is receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits; have been married to their ex-spouse for at least ten years before the finalization of the divorce; and not have been entitled to retirement or disability benefits of equal or greater value.

11. Survivor Benefits

When an individual is receiving Social Security spousal benefits at the time of the demise of their spouse, those benefits are transformed into survivor benefits. In general, eligibility for survivors’ benefits can equal 100 percent of the benefit the deceased spouse earned, including any delayed retirement credits accumulated before their passing. The eligibility age to begin receiving survivor benefits is 60 for widows and widowers, or 50 if they are disabled. However, in the same manner as spousal benefits, they will be reduced in amount if claimed before reaching complete retirement age.

5. Ex-spouse Survivor Benefits

In general, remarriage results in the deprivation of an individual’s eligibility to receive Social Security benefits based on the earnings records of their former spouse. On the contrary, retirees ought to be cognizant of two exceptions to this principle. The initial exception, commonly referred to as the Social Security spousal benefits exemption, permits a person who remarries after the age of 60 to remain eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits provided that the second marriage terminates before the demise of the initial spouse. Gaining knowledge of this social security spousal benefit and loophole at this moment will enable you to maintain benefits notwithstanding a subsequent marriage.

9. Retaining Survivor Benefits for Disabled Ex-Spouses

Ex-spouses with disabilities who remarry at least 50 years of age will receive an additional exemption from the Social Security termination upon remarriage requirement, allowing them to keep their Social Security survivor’s benefits. The provision acknowledges the distinctive circumstances of individuals with disabilities and ensures their ongoing accessibility.

8. Child-in-Care Spousal Benefit

Spouses of workers who are submitting retirement benefit applications may qualify for benefits commensurate with their earnings. For these benefits, however, eligibility requires a minimum age of 62 years or older. However, there is one social security benefit that renders this age requirement null and void. This is because the spouse is the guardian of a qualifying child. A child under the age of 16 or receiving Social Security disability benefits qualifies as a qualifying child.

7. Benefits of Switching from Survivor

Social security spousal benefits and loopholes allow for the transfer of survivor benefits. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), widows and widowers cannot begin receiving reduced social security benefits until they are 60 years old. Early benefits start-up reduces them by a tiny percentage. If a widow or widower receives a retirement benefit exceeding their survivor benefit, they can convert to their retirement benefit. The SSA notes that individuals may switch as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. As the regulations are intricate and subject to variation based on specific circumstances, it is advisable to consult with a Social Security representative regarding the matter.

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6. Spousal Benefit Tactics: Maximizing Lifetime Income

As previously mentioned, larger survivors are permitted to convert their retirement benefits. The best time to collect Social Security benefits is at the end of the month. This strategy will always increase benefits, which can then be used to adjust living costs.

5. Making a Survivor Benefit Claim before FRA

Survivor benefits are available to employees before reaching the full retirement age, which appears to be in their favor. Because a survivor is eligible to receive benefits for an extended duration, Although this is undeniably a noteworthy aspect of social security, it is important to acknowledge that the survivor will receive diminished benefits. Individuals must meticulously deliberate on the timing of their benefit claims in light of their life expectancy and financial circumstances. Doing so early could lead to a prolonged duration of benefit receipt, albeit at the expense of a reduced monthly benefit. Conversely, monthly benefits may increase if the survivor delays filing the claim until after the FRA.

4. Special Lump-Sum Payment for Death

The Social Security Administration finances and administers Social Security Lump Sum Death Payments (LSDPs). offers a lump-sum mortality payment of $255 to suitable surviving spouses and children.

3. Deemed Submission

With a deemed filing, you automatically apply for both your retirement benefit and your spouse’s. These provisions are expanded to include individuals past their complete retirement age by the Bipartisan Budget Act. The modification seeks to preserve the equity of benefit incentives. Deemed filing rules have a distinct and exclusive effect on retirement benefits, leaving survivor’s benefits unaffected. Widows and widowers possess the freedom to initiate survivor benefits in isolation, separate from and apart from the retirement benefit. Exceptions to the principle of presumed filing are present under specific circumstances. For example, it does not apply to individuals who are eligible for both spouse’s benefits and disability benefits. The aforementioned rule does not apply to primary caregivers receiving spousal benefits from the departed worker.

2. Spousal Contributions to an IRA

If the non-working spouse has limited or no income, he or she may be able to contribute to an IRA. With a traditional or Roth IRA, couples can maximize their contributions, which may amount to $14,000. When a spouse is caring for children, they can contribute to their retirement resources while away from the workforce.

1. Coordination  of Spousal Benefits

Frequently, one spouse earns a higher salary than the other, or neither does the other earn a living. In such situations, couples can ensure that they maximize their benefits by combining and optimizing their spousal and retirement benefits. For example, if your retirement benefit exceeds a spousal benefit, you will not be eligible to receive the latter. When an applicant is eligible for both benefits, Social Security will pay the greater amount. Couples must therefore remain informed regarding their expected future benefits at various claiming ages.

Tarique Anwer
Tarique Anwer
Tarique Anwer obtained his undergraduate degree from Aligarh Muslim University and his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Annamalai University. He commenced his professional journey at Bank of America. He is an experienced Media professional with demonstrated expertise in news writing, content creation, and people management.

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