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Social Security Spouse Benefits – the basics - Motley Fool

There are many misunderstandings about Social Security’s spousal benefit option, the most prevalent of which is that a spouse is always entitled to 50% of the other spouse’s SS benefit. While it is possible for one spouse to get half of the other’s benefit, it only happens if certain conditions are met. Most importantly, 50% is only available if the receiving spouse has reached their full retirement age or “FRA” (somewhere between 66 and 67 depending on year of birth) when the benefit is awarded.

Other rules apply as well, including that a spouse gets half of their partner’s FRA entitlement, not necessarily half of their partner’s current benefit amount. For example, if one partner waits until age 70 to claim a higher personal benefit, their spouse’s benefit will be based on the higher earning partner’s FRA entitlement, not their age 70 amount. This and other rules make Social Security spouse benefits one of the most confusing and misunderstood areas of Social Security, but this Motley Fool article by Maurie Backman offers assistance.

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 advisory service to help Americans navigate the complexities of this program. All questions are answered quickly, at no charge. Learn more about it here…

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