As retirement approaches, a husband and wife need to understand the Social Security Administration terms and conditions for distribution. To be eligible for social security benefits each spouse’s earnings have been collected separately under their individual social security numbers throughout their working career. During their lifetime all reported earnings were subjected to the social security deductions taken directly from the paychecks.
A husband and wife’s social security benefits may not be equal. The benefits vary, depending on the age and benefit type. Those who earned less throughout their careers will receive less at retirement. The eligibility is determined by the length of time employed and the amount collected from payroll contributions.
In the case of only one spouse working outside of the home, the nonworking spouse may be able to file for social security under the working spouse’s records, if the age of retirement is met. The working spouse needs to have accumulated enough credits for the nonworking spouse to be eligible.
Or if the working spouse is at retirement age, he or she may apply for retirement benefits and then request to have payments suspended. The nonworking spouse may be able to receive the working spouse’s benefits. The working spouse can select to continue to earn delayed retirement credits until age 70.
If the nonworking spouse does not qualify on their own record at the age of 62, they may be able to collect against the working spouse’s record. The early retirement amount will permanently be reduced by a percentage of the number of months to full retirement age. If the nonworking spouse delays retirement until the full age, they may be eligible to collect half of the working spouse’s retirement amount.