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Claiming Early Cuts Survivor Benefits Too - Kiplinger

An interesting reality is that most Social Security beneficiaries claim their retirement benefits early, many as soon as they are eligible at age 62. The implications of that – essentially a permanently reduced monthly benefit – are personal for those who are single, but carry some significant consequences for a married couple. Here’s why:

In a marriage, there is often a fairly large discrepancy in each partner’s monthly SS benefit because one spouse was the primary bread-winner while the other handled household responsibilities (such as childcare) for a number of years. Especially if there is also an age difference, the amount of the lower-earning spouse’s benefit as a survivor can be crucial when the higher-earnings spouse passes. And that’s because the surviving spouse’s SS benefit will be only the higher of the two benefits both were previously receiving – which means that higher-earning spouses who delay claiming to get a bigger monthly amount for themselves, also enhance their spouse’s benefit as a survivor. This Kiplinger article by Kristi Martin Rodriguez explains that when you claim your Social Security benefit has implications for your spouse as well. Click here to read more.

Also, if you’re unsure about how these basics apply to you, or if you have any questions about your individual situation under Social Security, note that the AMAC Foundation provides a free-to-the-public service to help Americans navigate the complexities of this program. Learn more about it here…

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