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If I receive a spouse benefit, will it reduce the amount that my spouse receives?

No, receiving benefits on your spouse's earnings record does not affect the amount of the retirement or disability benefit that your spouse receives. 

In most cases, you must be at least age 62 to claim a spouse benefit. Depending on your age when you file, your payment will range from 32.5 percent to 50 percent of your mate's primary insurance amount — the benefit to which they are entitled at full retirement age, which is 66 and 4 months for people born in 1956 and is gradually rising to 67. It won't take a dollar out of what your spouse gets from Social Security.

If you are eligible for both a spousal benefit and your own retirement or disability benefit, you cannot collect the combined total. If your benefit is higher, you'll receive only that amount. If the spousal benefit is bigger, Social Security will pay you a combination of the benefits, drawing on both your Social Security record and your mate's, but equal to that higher amount.

Keep in mind

  • You can't receive spousal benefits unless your husband or wife is already drawing his or her own Social Security benefits.
  • Divorced people can collect benefits on the record of an ex-spouse who is not yet receiving their benefits if the marriage lasted at least 10 years and the divorce happened at least two years ago.

Updated March 7, 2022