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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

If I delay claiming my Social Security benefits until after full retirement age, will my spouse receive a spouse benefit based on the additional amount I will receive because I waited?

En español | No. The benefit your spouse will receive will be a portion of the benefit you were eligible for at full retirement age. Delayed retirement credits, which you acquire by postponing benefits beyond full retirement age, do not apply to spouse benefits, but they do apply to survivor benefits (the benefit the spouse would get after the breadwinner's death). In order for a husband or wife to begin receiving spouse benefits, the breadwinner and the spouse must be at least age 62. In addition, the breadwinner must file for Social Security retirement benefits before the spouse can receive spouse benefits based on the breadwinner's earnings. So, waiting beyond full retirement age to claim benefits will boost your spouse's benefit after your death (her widow benefit) but not the spouse benefit he or she  will receive when you're still alive.

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